THE OBAMA FOUNDATION news

THE OBAMA FOUNDATION

2021

 

Hi jean,

Today, President and Mrs. Obama announced that virtual groundbreaking celebrations for the Obama Presidential Center are slated to begin on Monday, September 27!

Watch President and Mrs. Obama’s exciting announcement, including their reflections on what Chicago means to them.

Our entire road to groundbreaking has been building towards this moment. While we won’t be able to gather in person this fall, we are excited to connect virtually so we can celebrate Chicago and everyone who has helped bring the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side.

Together, we’re one step closer to creating a new destination to move visitors from hope to action, breathing new life into historic Jackson Park, and delivering amenities and economic benefits to the community the Obamas called home.

We hope you’ll mark your calendars and stay tuned for ways you can participate online!

—The Obama Foundation


           

Dear jean,In May 2021, we hosted the MBK Leadership Forum, a virtual gathering of MBK Communities that are making notable progress to reduce barriers and expand opportunity for boys and young men of color. Today, we’re excited to announce that the mainstage and breakout sessions from the two-day event are now available online for on-demand viewing.

The gathering, held on May 26-27, celebrated the program’s collective progress, centered racial equity as a core driver to meet MBK goals, highlighted best practices from communities with proven success, and introduced the new MBK Equity Framework. The Forum also featured a conversation with President Obama and youth and community leaders on the unprecedented activism that has taken place in the year following George Floyd’s tragic murder.

Finally, when you visit the MBK Leadership Forum website, you’ll be able to hear from leading changemakers from across sectors who were featured in the following mainstage and breakout sessions:

  • Changing the Narrative
  • Centering Racial Equity in Data Strategies
  • Building a Backbone
  • Building Public Commitment and Engaging Diverse Stakeholders
  • Mayoral Leadership
  • Philanthropy in the Age of COVID-19
  • Lessons From Loíza: Unique Approaches & Perspectives For Supporting Boys and Young Men of Color
  • Indigenous Intersections: Allyship with Tribal Communities

We hope you will take a moment to be inspired by the dynamic conversations that took place at the MBK Leadership Forum, and learn more about the MBK Equity Framework. The MBK Equity Framework is a resource designed for any community looking to improve the lives of boys and young men of color and underserved youth. The Framework has been rigorously developed from the ground up in partnership with organizations on the frontlines of youth and community development.

If you are an MBK Community that wants to learn more about the MBK Equity Framework, sign up for one of our MBK University sessions below. If you’re interested in becoming an MBK Community or joining the MBK Alliance, click here.

MBKU 101: Aligning Cross-sector Partnerships and Strategic Collaborations: Who should be at the table with you as you become an MBK Community? 

June 19, 2021 2:00-3:30PM ET Register Here
The MBK Community Challenge charges communities with laying the groundwork to launch a comprehensive plan and commitment to boys and young men of color in your community. The first step in answering the call to become an MBK Community is making a public declaration. The second step is confirming your MBK Community Stakeholder Roundtable. Steps 1 and 2 require cross-sector partnerships and strategic collaborations. Join us for this MBKU 101 course to engage in a workshop that will walk you through this strategic process–allowing you to walk away with a clear plan of action to complete Steps 1 and 2 of the MBK Community Challenge. You will also hear from Local MBK Communities who have successfully aligned cross-sector partnerships and strategic collaborations.MBKU 101: Conducting Your  Local Data and Policy Review 

July 21, 2021 2:00-3:30PM ET Register Here
The third step of the MBK Community Challenge focuses on conducting your local data and policy review. This requires your MBK Community Stakeholder Roundtable to scour local policies, programs, and metrics in search of ways to introduce or expand on existing efforts to better serve youth. Participants will engage in a data and policy review training and walkthrough with an MBK Community and additional data review expert–ultimately providing the strategy and tools to execute this review, and walk away with a clear plan of action to complete Step 3 of the MBK Community Challenge.MBKU 101: Developing and Launching Your Local MBK Action Plan & Your Local Action Summit 

July 23, 2021 2:00-3:00PM ET Register Here
The fourth step of the MBK Community Challenge leads communities to develop and launch your MBK Community Local Action Plan. This plan will serve as a living, breathing document that guides work, is reported out on, and is assessed and evolved as necessary. Participants will gain additional insights and strategies to complete their local action plan, as well as hear directly from an MBK Community about their journey launching their plan and honoring the ongoing work post-summit.MBKU 201: MBK Equity Framework

July 28, 2021 2:00-3:30PM ET Register Here
This course will delve into the MBK Equity Framework with participants—providing a high-level overview of the vision and intention of the framework, eight elements of success, and the ongoing use of this tool. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in 2-3 breakout rooms where they can explore an element of success in each room with a community strongly leading this work.We look forward to being in community with you soon.

Best,

—Michael

Michael D. Smith
Executive Director, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
The Obama Foundation

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,If you’ve followed Barack Obama’s career at all, you know that when it comes to music, books, art, and all things pop culture, he is something of a Tastemaker-in-Chief.

As President, he and Mrs. Obama welcomed dancers, artists, and musicians into the halls of the White House for special performances and ceremonies—including a few where President Obama grabbed the mic himself!

An extension of his appreciation for a snappy lyric and an undeniable bass line, he put out his first-ever Spotify playlist in 2015. It quickly turned into a groovy tradition that’s still going strong.

This week, he dropped a new list of his favorite summer tracks and summer reads. Check it out.

Here at the Obama Foundation, we’re finding new ways to celebrate the President and First Lady’s commitment to the arts through the Obama Presidential Center. The campus will feature a recording studio for young musicians to perfect their craft, a new branch of the Chicago Library where kids can get lost in a good book, and art that will make us all marvel at what we can accomplish when we work together to create change. We can’t wait.We hope you’ll take a listen to President Obama’s summer playlist and find your next read from his latest book picks.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

As we near the end of Women’s History Month, there’s no better time to celebrate the power that lies inside every girl and pay it forward to the next generation of inspiring young women.That’s why I’m so thrilled that tonight POPSUGAR is hosting “Girl Talk: Knowledge Is Our Superpower,” a virtual event dedicated to girls’ education and empowerment and featuring the stories of the Girls Opportunity Alliance.

Girl Talk - Watch on POPSUGAR
You’ll get to meet girls all over the world, hear a musical performance from Kelly Clarkson, and get advice about how to pursue your goals and support each other. Auli’i Cravalho will share why it’s so important for girls to dream big. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan will discuss how girls can carve out their own paths, even when they’re the first or the only person to try something new. And Marsai Martin will teach a new course: Stepping Into Your Power 101. Along the way we’ll be joined by many other special guests, all in support of adolescent girls’ education around the world and our work with the Girls Opportunity Alliance.

I also can’t wait to introduce you to two remarkable students during the special: Sonali Pathak from India and Turipamue Kazohua from Namibia, who are both 15 years old and who joined me and Lilly Singh for a conversation about what their education has been like during the pandemic. Of course, these young women faced challenges to getting an education even before COVID-19, but organizations in the Girls Opportunity Alliance community have helped them to keep learning while remaining healthy and safe. Tonight you’ll learn about their challenges and their dreams, from Turipamue’s love for the debate club at her school to Sonali’s favorite karate lessons in her community.

These young women are going to inspire you as much as they inspire me—I know it. And the truth is, there are girls like them in every corner of the globe, who are eager to learn and absolutely determined to get an education worthy of their promise. So join us tonight, and then do your part to pay it forward to the next generation of young women. We’ve made it easy to do just that by releasing a new fundraising toolkit on the Girls Opportunity Alliance website that will help you to take action, from hosting a virtual trivia night to leading a solo fun run—and if you’re a parent, you can do this with your kids and show them what it means to give back.

You can watch the special tonight at 9 PM ET at POPSUGAR and TLC, or catch an encore presentation at 10 PM ET on OWN. So I hope you’ll spread the word and tune in to join us in celebration of all of the women and girls in your life and all around the world.

I hope this special hour of girl power motivates and inspires you to help us ensure the world knows that, as Sonali says, “girls are magic.”

—Michelle

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,

Happy International Women’s Day! This past year, we’ve seen just how much women accomplish every single day—they’ve been the ones putting in overtime as frontline healthcare workers, taking on activist roles in their communities, and stepping up to care for their families during these tough times. It’s awe inspiring. And what gives me so much hope is that the next generation of women are just as determined, especially as they pursue their education in the face of great challenges and a rapidly changing educational landscape.That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate girls’ education on Thursday, March 25, with POPSUGAR. I’ll be speaking with Lilly Singh and girls from the Girls Opportunity Alliance as they share what their education has looked like during the pandemic and how organizations in our global community have helped them to keep learning safely.

Girl Talk - Watch on POPSUGAR

This issue is so important to me, because we know that girls around the world were already facing challenges to their education, and those challenges only get tougher during times like these. Early studies predict that an additional 20 million girls of secondary school age may never return to school due to ripple effects from the pandemic. We can’t let that happen. These girls deserve an education worthy of their potential, and the world deserves the full expression of their brilliance, talent, and ideas.So I hope you’ll tune in on March 25 and support girls’ education and empowerment today through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. This week, we added three new projects from grassroots organizations that help girls access virtual learning, learn about their health, and stay in school.

International Women’s Day is the perfect time to support girls around the world, so take action however you can—because when girls get the opportunities they deserve, we all benefit.

—Michelle

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Dear jean,

Today is a historic day. 56 years ago, marchers armed only with their courage crossed a bridge in Selma, Alabama, determined to fight for a more just future. When President Obama honored those marchers on that same bridge 50 years later, he delivered a speech that not only captured his idea of what America should be, but one that called on each generation to take up the baton and build on the legacies of those who came before.

I’m thrilled to share that a portion of that meaningful speech will appear on the exterior of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago. Watch the video to see the words that were selected.

Watch this special reveal
This selection also speaks to one of the themes of the Obama Presidential Center Museum: the power of words. Visitors will learn more about the movements that inspired President Obama to come to the South Side, see how that history shaped the Obama presidency, and be asked to reflect on how their own story fits into the ongoing work of creating a better future for all.I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this special reveal. When you visit the Center and look up and see these powerful words, we hope you’ll feel inspired to continue the work that so many before us undertook to make our world a better place.

Thank you,

—Louise

Dr. Louise Bernard
Director, Obama Presidential Center Museum 

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Hi there,

As we come to the end of another powerful Black History Month, we wanted to make sure you saw a few of the stories we shared. From highlighting moments in history that will be included in the Obama Presidential Center Museum, to lifting up the voices of Chicago’s youth, we hope these stories remind you of how far we’ve come as a nation—and how much further we have to go.

—The Obama Foundation

THREE YEARS WITH THE OBAMA PORTRAITS
THREE YEARS WITH THE OBAMA PORTRAITS
Three years ago, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald became the first Black artists to create official, Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former President and First Lady. Revisit when President and Mrs. Obama revealed their historic portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
THE POWER OF ART IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE
THE POWER OF ART IN THE OBAMA
WHITE HOUSE
During their time in the White House, President and Mrs. Obama always recognized and embraced the power of art. By showcasing pieces that depicted important chapters in the American story, White House visitors and staffers alike were reminded of how far we’ve come as a nation—and the work that remains to create a more just society for allExplore the artwork. 
A Chorus of Hope
A CHORUS OF HOPE
Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, the Chicago Children’s Choir always ends Black History Month with a performance of “We Shall Overcome,” an iconic song of the Civil Rights Movement. See how the Choir is using the power of music and community to get through these difficult times.
The Black History of Jackson Park
CELEBRATING THE BLACK HISTORY OF
JACKSON PARK
When Frederick Douglass traveled to Jackson Park to attend the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, he made the park a part of Black history. The Obama Presidential Center will add another chapter to its storied history. See how.

Like what you see? Forward this email to a friend who could use a little inspiration!


            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

“And that’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about—helping more of our young people stay on track; providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future; building on what works, when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.”—President Obama, February 27, 2014It’s been seven years since President Obama called on the nation to address the persistent opportunity gaps boys and young men of color face and to ensure all young people can reach their full potential.

From an adage to a thriving national alliance over these past seven years, My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) has reached hundreds of thousands of youth in nearly every corner of the country: From 40 mentees engaged in résumé workshops, pick-up basketball games, and career shadowing at the White House, to countless served by the nearly 250 cities, towns, counties, and tribal nations in our network; from the young people impacted by 50,000 new mentors recruited with our NBA family, to the ever-expanding benefit of significant policy initiatives like the Second Chance Pell pilot or MBK Success Mentors Initiative.

Charting this path, we’ve met young men who have prepared for and finished school, joined the workforce, found their voices and passions, and poured themselves into improving outcomes for their peers and the next generation.

To honor seven years of accelerating impact through youth-centered initiatives, we’re sharing seven snapshots from our walk with boys and young men of color. Here’s some of what we’ve learned about our movement—through them—on this journey.

Every day, these remarkable young kings teach us something new. In 2021 and beyond, while there is so much ground left to cover to realize a better future for boys and young men of color, may we keep walking and learning until each one—and all young people—can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them. By joining the Alliance, you can help us reach even more.

—MBK Alliance


            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Hi jean,

Three years ago today, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald became the first Black artists to create official, Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former President and First Lady.

Revisit when President and Mrs. Obama revealed their historic portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Since the portraits’ installation in 2018, four million people have traveled to the National Portrait Gallery to view them—essentially doubling the museum’s attendance.The arts have always been central to the American experience, and we’re thrilled that the portraits will be coming to the Art Institute of Chicago later this year.

Take a look back at the unveiling of President and Mrs. Obama’s presidential portraits.

Here’s to the power of art,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

Next Monday, January 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States. Since before he was inaugurated, President Obama has urged people to turn MLK Day into a day of service—and millions have taken up the call. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made serving tougher than usual, there are still safe ways to serve your community on Monday.

Make a plan to serve on MLK Day

Together, we can make a huge collective difference on Monday—so begin by making a plan to serve today.Take care of your community,

The Obama Foundation


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Hi jean,

Next Monday, January 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States. Since before he was inaugurated, President Obama has urged people to turn MLK Day into a day of service—and millions have taken up the call. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made serving tougher than usual, there are still safe ways to serve your community on Monday.

Make a plan to serve on MLK Day

Together, we can make a huge collective difference on Monday—so begin by making a plan to serve today.Take care of your community,

The Obama Foundation


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Hi jean,Every year, on January 1st, people throughout the world sit down to write their New Year’s resolutions—to usher in a new year by taking steps to ensure it plays out differently than the last. With hope that we may eventually see the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are probably making lists that involve reconnecting with friends and loved ones, taking a well-deserved vacation, or simply spending less time in front of a screen.

But one thing I hope everyone adds to their list of resolutions today is to look after their communities. Just committing to a few hours of service can mean the world in the lives of those around you.

Throughout 2020, amidst moments of anguish and anger, tragedy and turmoil, I was heartened again and again by the sacrifices so many made on behalf of others—and I don’t just mean our frontline or essential workers. Millions of everyday people checked in on their neighbors and supported local businesses, started up mutual aid networks, or simply spent a Saturday morning volunteering their time.Resolving to serve is easy—and our Foundation has simple steps to help you get started.

As we close the chapter on a trying year, resolve to start this new year with a commitment to service.

—Barack

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Hi jean,

When Michelle and I began this Foundation, we knew that empowering talented young leaders to make a difference in their communities was the most powerful way we could give back. We knew there were young people all over the world ready to step up and tackle the great challenges of our time.

By giving to our Foundation this holiday season, you’re not just helping to train leaders for the future, you’re supporting the folks on the front lines working to rebuild our communities right now.
$25
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The events of this year have only proven that impassioned young people, organizing to support their communities, are one of the most powerful forces for good in our world.Whether confronting a global pandemic or marching for equal justice and real change, it was young people across the globe who inspired us all by making sure their voices were heard this year.

So, jean, this holiday season, I’m asking you to join Michelle and me in supporting the courageous young leaders working to build a better world for all of us.

The young people we support are working to ensure a future filled with more hope, opportunity, and equality. We need your help to ensure their work continues.

Gratefully,

—Barack

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Take our next #OFCareChallenge
 Artwork by Simone Noronha
Hi jean,

This year has been filled with inspiring stories of ordinary citizens volunteering their time to help their neighbors overcome incredible challenges—everyday heroes lending their time to sort groceries at a food bank or deliver PPE to the elderly have helped ensure that aid reaches those who need it most in their communities.

This winter, pledge to spend time helping those in need in your community. Volunteer with your local food bank, shelter, or another organization to ensure they’re able to help all those who need it.

Food banks and other charities rely on volunteers to deliver critical resources to the communities they serve. That’s why one of the most powerful gifts you can give this season is spending a little bit of your time volunteering to help others.

Take our #OFCareChallenge and volunteer a couple of hours with an organization doing good work in your community.

As older volunteers stay home to stay safe, it’s up to all of us to step up and give of our time to ensure that help reaches those who need it most.

Take care of your community,

—The Obama Foundation

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  Artwork by Martha A. Wade
Hi jean,

In a year of tremendous hardship, one of the most inspiring trends we’ve seen is the emergence of mutual aid hubs—simple networks that identify the needs within a specific community and look for volunteers to help meet them. Volunteers find out what neighbors need—like a prescription pick up, groceries, or PPE—and organize to provide that service.

Your community could use a hand. If you’re in the U.S., connect with your local mutual aid hub to see what your neighbors need—and how you can help.

If there isn’t a mutual aid hub in your area, consider starting something powerful for your community. Putting a pop-up lending library or community fridge in your neighborhood can make a difference in the lives of your neighbors.

Pledge to take the latest #OFCareChallenge, and find tips to help you start a mutual aid project of your own. 

It will take all of us working together to get through these next few months. Help ensure that you and your neighbors are well-prepared this holiday season.

Take care of your community,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,If you caught President Obama on 60 Minutes, you saw him offer a vision of the Obama Presidential Center. More than just a world-class museum, the Center will engage visitors and connect them with ways to shape their own future for the common good.
But we can’t build it without your help, jean. Before Giving Tuesday is over, donate and help bring the Obama Presidential Center to life. 
$25
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Rooted in our Foundation’s mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world, the Obama Presidential Center will allow visitors to experience a historic presidency firsthand.
jean, you’ve followed the Foundation for some time, so you know the Center will be more than just a world-class museum—it will offer inspiration to young people who are interested in service, and beautify a park to serve a community that has been underserved in the past.
And we can’t bring President Obama’s vision to life without you. Donate on Giving Tuesday and help us build the Obama Presidential Center.
In 2008, supporters like you helped drive a campaign that inspired the world and sent President and Mrs. Obama to the White House.The Obama Presidential Center is an opportunity to make history once again.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,This holiday season, I’m reflecting on all the ways we can continue to support each other as this challenging year comes to a close. 2020 was marked by an unprecedented amount of uncertainty, as people around the world faced devastating losses and unexpected changes to their daily lives. Young people, especially, have had to abruptly adapt to school closures and new ways of learning as their families deal with the difficult realities of this pandemic.

Even before COVID-19, millions of girls faced barriers that kept them out of school—and sadly, we know these hurdles are heightened in times like these, from dwindling access to education to increased violence at home. Early studies predict that 20 million more girls of secondary school age may never return to school due to ripple effects from the pandemic.

We can’t let that happen. The stakes are just too high. That’s why I’m so inspired by the organizations in the Girls Opportunity Alliance community—they’ve always worked tirelessly to support girls who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to pursue their education. And, after the onset of COVID-19, they stepped up to keep girls learning safely in these very challenging circumstances. These organizations got creative, helping girls continue to study through radio, cellphone, and virtual classes. They also delivered masks and food to girls and their families to help them stay safe and healthy. I am so proud that when these girls needed them most, these organizations were there for them.

On #GivingTuesday, meet some of these extraordinary girls and the organizations that empower them:

Meet some of these extraordinary girls and the organizations
If you can, I hope you’ll take a minute today and donate to support this important work for girls’ education and empowerment through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. Your support can help these girls get through these challenging times and ensure that their dreams are not knocked off course by the pandemic. Because we know that when girls get an education, they have the tools they need to transform our world and create a better future for us all.Thank you for supporting these girls however you can—and wishing you all a restful and safe holiday season.

—Michelle

The future of our world is only as bright as our girls.
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Take our first #OFCareChallenge
  Artwork by Liz Montague
Hi jean,

The economic pain from COVID-19 has touched every corner of the world, but here in the U.S. it’s hitting Black-owned businesses especially hard. Over 40 percent of Black-owned businesses have shut their doors this year.

But you can help—and help take care of your community at the same time. 

By taking the next #OFCareChallenge and supporting Black-owned businesses in your community—especially while shopping for gifts during Black Friday and Small Business Saturday—you can support African-American entrepreneurs, help close the racial wealth gap, create jobs, and amplify Black voices.

Help build a stronger community by taking our second #OFCareChallenge and supporting Black-owned businesses this holiday season.

You can ensure that your money has an even bigger impact in your community this holiday season by donating and shopping at Black-owned businesses and organizations.

Take care of your community,

—The Obama Foundation

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Dear jean Paul ,When I arrived at the White House on the morning of June 26, 2015, I didn’t know it would be a day for the history books. But by evening’s end I had the chance to witness one of the most extraordinary days of President Obama’s eight years in office. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, President Obama paid tribute to Reverend Pinckney and his eight parishioners, and the White House shone with a new pride for all to see.
To mark the five year anniversary, watch this video, which tells the story of that unforgettable day through those of us who experienced it firsthand.That morning’s decision was decades in the making. It was a moment made possible by the work of activists who demanded justice, government leaders who took action, and millions of ordinary Americans who dared to live openly and challenge their government to honor their commitment.

These are the types of stories we’re working to bring to the Obama Presidential Center—the moments of joy and hardship, celebration and anxiety, loss and grace that pave the road of progress.

The work of perfecting our union can often feel slow, sometimes unbearably so, and steps toward equality can be met with steps backward. But once in a while, decades of protest, advocacy, and leadership lead to days like that of June 26, five years ago, when justice arrived “like a thunderbolt.”

I hope you’ll spend some time reliving this incredible day.

—Valerie

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Hi jean,“I want to take this moment to say that Black fathers matter.”
Father's Day matters
Ten years ago, Chicagoan Sheldon Smith had a daughter, Jada. He wanted to find resources to help guide his journey as a father, and through that process, founded the Dovetail Project to help other young African American fathers looking for similar support.This Father’s Day, we want to share Sheldon’s message and lift up the meaningful work he does. Since the Dovetail Project’s founding, over 500 young men have graduated from its 12-week program in parenting skills, life skills, and felony street and family law.

Dovetail Project - find out more
Today, the Dovetail Project is still serving young fathers across the city—and making sure their families can weather the storm of the COVID 19 crisis. Through their Fatherhood Relief Fund, fathers can request support and personal supplies like diapers and baby formula.“The babies are what keep me going,” Sheldon said. “The knowledge that babies are growing up with their fathers because of our work means everything to me.”

And Sheldon hopes, with the global reaction in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, there’s an opportunity to talk about systemic injustices like police violence and mass incarceration that separate Black fathers from their families—and to affirm the importance of fatherhood. “To all the young Black and Brown dads out there, you matter,” he said. “Your babies need you, and we know how much you love them. We’re here for you so you can be here for them.”

This Father’s Day, take a second to learn  about Sheldon and the work of the Dovetail Project.

Happy Father’s Day,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean PaulTonight, President Obama will offer a special message to this year’s graduating class of high school and college seniors, as part of YouTube’s virtual commencement, “Dear Class of 2020.”

While our nation grapples with anguish and grief, rituals like graduation still serve as important rites of passage; moments to acknowledge and celebrate. We hope President Obama’s message can offer some optimism to this year’s class. Even as we face the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, it will be up to this generation to set the world on a better path.

Tune in to the commencement
You can watch the President’s message today at 6:40 pm ET. The full commencement—including a message from Mrs. Obama, begins at 3 pm ET.As we celebrate the next generation of leaders, we know the stress and trauma of racism and police violence are ever-present. President Obama recently joined Congressman John Lewis, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, writer and survivor of police brutality Leon Ford, Jr., and youth leader LeQuan Muhammad, in an intergenerational conversation, moderated by activist and author Darnell Moore, to discuss the mental toll racism takes on people of color.

You can watch this powerful and poignant conversation—and find mental health resources for dealing with racial stress and trauma here.

Watch President Obama's town hall
Finally, if you have not already, take a moment to watch President Obama’s town hall with national and local leaders who are working to end police violence in America.In anguish, in action,

—The Obama Foundation

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jean,Please join President Obama, along with local and national leaders in the police reform movement, to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions needed to transform a system that has led to the loss of too many lives.
Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence - Find out more!
The conversation will be livestreamed beginning at 5:00 pm ET.President Obama will be joined by Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, President of Color of Change Rashad Robinson, Minneapolis City Council Representative Phillipe Cunningham, and MBK Columbus Youth Leader Playon Patrick, in a conversation moderated by Campaign Zero co-founder Brittany Packnett Cunningham.

This virtual event is being hosted in solidarity with our key national partners to provide a safe space for community leaders and youth to connect, learn, and take action as our communities grieve and demand a better tomorrow.

We hope you join us.

—The Obama Foundation

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Dear jean, PaulIn the last several weeks—and the last several months before that—we have seen the kinds of epic changes that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Although all of us have been feeling pain, uncertainty, and disruption, some have felt it more than others. Most of all, the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade and Sean Reed and too many others to mention.

Michelle and I—and the nation—grieve with those families. We hold them in our prayers. And we are committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in memory of their sons and daughters.

This evening, I joined our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance in a conversation with local and national leaders to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions we can take to encourage reform of our law enforcement system.

Part of what’s made me hopeful in these days, despite it all, is the fact that so many young people have been galvanized and motivated and mobilized. So much of the progress that we’ve made in our society has been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man when he first got involved. Malcolm X was a young man. Dolores Huerta was a young woman. The leaders of the feminist movement were young people. Leaders of union movements were young people. The movement to make sure that members of the LGBTQ community finally had a voice and were represented were young people. And the leaders of the gun violence and environmental movements in this country are young people.

Today, when I see young people all across the country stepping up and speaking out in such meaningful ways—when I see their talent and sophistication and passion—it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better. But real change starts with a focus on results, and everyone committed to doing their part.

We’re calling on everyone—from mayors to city council officials to everyday citizens—to recognize and root out the tragic, painful, maddening effects of systemic racism and to take concrete steps to address police use of force policies in their communities.

It will take all of us working together to ensure we can reimagine policing so it recognizes the humanity of every person—so it honors the dignity of every person.

“My daddy changed the world,” Gianna Floyd, George’s six-year-old daughter, said yesterday.

Yes he did.

Yes we can.

—Barack

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Dear jean,In the last several weeks—and the last several months before that—we have seen the kinds of epic changes that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Although all of us have been feeling pain, uncertainty, and disruption, some have felt it more than others. Most of all, the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade and Sean Reed and too many others to mention.

Michelle and I—and the nation—grieve with those families. We hold them in our prayers. And we are committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in memory of their sons and daughters.

This evening, I joined our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance in a conversation with local and national leaders to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions we can take to encourage reform of our law enforcement system.

Part of what’s made me hopeful in these days, despite it all, is the fact that so many young people have been galvanized and motivated and mobilized. So much of the progress that we’ve made in our society has been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man when he first got involved. Malcolm X was a young man. Dolores Huerta was a young woman. The leaders of the feminist movement were young people. Leaders of union movements were young people. The movement to make sure that members of the LGBTQ community finally had a voice and were represented were young people. And the leaders of the gun violence and environmental movements in this country are young people.

Today, when I see young people all across the country stepping up and speaking out in such meaningful ways—when I see their talent and sophistication and passion—it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better. But real change starts with a focus on results, and everyone committed to doing their part.

We’re calling on everyone—from mayors to city council officials to everyday citizens—to recognize and root out the tragic, painful, maddening effects of systemic racism and to take concrete steps to address police use of force policies in their communities.

It will take all of us working together to ensure we can reimagine policing so it recognizes the humanity of every person—so it honors the dignity of every person.

“My daddy changed the world,” Gianna Floyd, George’s six-year-old daughter, said yesterday.

Yes he did.

Yes we can.

—Barack

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jean,We work to help leaders change their world—and the world needs changing.

Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America, and Black people are three times more likely to be killed than White people. We can take steps and make reforms to combat police violence and systemic racism within law enforcement.

This is America. Take Action Now!
We’re inspired by those protesting for accountability and change, even in the face of a pandemic. If you’re looking for additional ways to advocate for change, we’ve gathered resources to learn about police violence and antiracism, as well as actions you can take to encourage reform, from organizations who have been working on these issues at the local and national level for years.While now is a time for grief and anger, it is also a time for resolve. It is a time to meet anguish with action.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,When the COVID-19 pandemic ricocheted around the world, it upended our societies and brought our lives to a standstill. But today in the US, we wake up in a country where it is clear not everything has stood still. Racism has not stood still. Bigotry has not stood still. The fatal disparity that people of color face—whether at the hands of law enforcement or the whims of our health care system—has not stood still.
On Friday, President Obama shared this video from 12-year-old Keedron Bryant, putting into song the anguish and heartbreak millions share after the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many more.We wanted to share this video with you today, as well as the President’s own words about the tragic events of the past several weeks.

It’s natural to wish for life “to just get back to normal” as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly “normal” – whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.⁣ ⁣

This shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America. It can’t be “normal.” If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.⁣ ⁣

Six years ago, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper so that every boy and young man of color in America would know that their dreams mattered—that Keedron’s dreams would matter—as much as any other child’s. Today, that urgent work continues through the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and through the work of several of our leaders who are fighting systemic racism throughout the world.

While now is a time for grief and anger, it is also a time for action and resolve.

Follow these links to find resources for Black people struggling to process this needless trauma and information on how we all can take action to combat systemic racism in the United States.

And read the story below about how our neighbors here in Chicago are helping care for the communities of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

This is no time to stand still.

—The Obama Foundation

We Got Us - Find Out More
After a Chicago community call with President Obama, community organizers from across Chicago collaborated to create We Got Us, an initiative delivering packages of essential supplies to the city’s South and West Sides. Their mission goes beyond providing immediate aid to the communities that have been disproportionately affected by the virus—these organizers want to help restructure systems to be more inclusive of the neighborhoods they serve.
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Hi jean,On Saturday, President Obama had three pieces of advice for the graduating class of 2020:

  1. Don’t be afraid.
  2. Do what you think is right.
  3. Build a community.

In case you missed it, you can see his full message to high school seniors—alongside the voicemails and messages you’ve shared to celebrate them.

Below you will find some hopeful stories from this past week—and be sure to take a look at the resources we gathered with ways for you to get involved in your own community.

Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful.

—The Obama Foundation

The Hacey Health Initiative was created by Obama Foundation Scholar Isaiah Owolabi over a decade ago to close the inequality gap that limits women and girls’ access to health and economic empowerment. Today, to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaiah’s organization has helped over 500 pregnant women, health workers, and birth attendants in Nigeria by providing counseling, hygiene kits, protective gear, food, and essential medicines.
In our hometown of Chicago, neighbors across the city have stepped up to care for one another during this pandemic. They’ve shared meals, called to check in on each other, found ways to connect virtually, and even set up a socially-distant scavenger hunt. No matter how they’ve gotten involved, these Chicagoans define the spirit of the city we are so proud to call home.
Ready to lead in your community? We’ve gathered some resources to help you get started in caring for yourself, your loved ones, and the most vulnerable among us.
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Hi jean,In just a few minutes, President Obama will join notable voices like LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, and Megan Rapinoe to celebrate America’s graduating high school seniors.
Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 is about to air on more than 30 broadcast and cable networks in the U.S., beginning at 8 pm ET/PT and 7pm CT/MT.
And starting at 11 pm ET/10 pm CT, you can stream it right here from anywhere in the world. 
You won’t want to miss it.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,Last night, President Obama addressed America’s graduating high school class of 2020, and offered them three simple pieces of advice. First, don’t be afraid—America’s gone through tough times before. Second, do what you think is right and you’ll be part of the solution. And third, build a community. If you missed his message, be sure to catch it in full.

Below you’ll also find a few of the hopeful stories we’ve witnessed in the past week. Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
President and Mrs. Obama joined the Chicago Public Library’s Live from the Library story time to read “The Word Collector” by Peter H. Reynolds. It’s a book about the transformative power of words and no matter your age, we think you’ll enjoy it.
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One of our Obama Scholars, Pavel Kounchev, co-founded Fine Acts—a playground for social change. In response to the pandemic, they launched Spring of Hope online, where they are sharing new uplifting illustrations on their website every day until the end of May.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Obama Foundation Africa Leader Goto Cooper collaborated with seven emerging community organizations across Liberia to create the COVID-19 Partnership Network. The network is educating rural communities about the symptoms of the virus and how to prevent its spread in coordination with the Liberian government and the World Health Organization.
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Last week, President and Mrs. Obama gave a few hundred Chicago Public School teachers and students quite a surprise! They joined CPS’ first-ever virtual Civic Life Student Town Hall featuring Eric Liu, the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, and four incredible student moderators.

Donate to empower rising leaders bringing hope to their communities.

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Hi jean,The COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop us from celebrating our graduates. This Saturday, President Obama will deliver a virtual commencement message to the high school class of 2020. His remarks will be featured as part of a primetime special called Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020, airing on broadcast networks and streaming online at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT.

And we want you to be part of the celebration, too. Call us at (773) 657-9284 and leave us a voicemail to share your own words of encouragement with the class of 2020.

We’ll share some of these messages with our audience ahead of President Obama’s speech, as we help celebrate America’s graduating seniors.Below you’ll also find a few of the hopeful stories we’ve witnessed in the past week. Be sure to leave your own hopeful voicemail message for the graduating class of 2020—and help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Great teachers make a lasting impact on all of us. Watch President Obama recognize some legendary educators here in Chicago on Teacher Appreciation Day.
We’ll never forget the ways we’ve seen leaders step up in their communities across the world. In southwest Nigeria, Africa Leader Edem Dorothy Ossai is distributing packages filled with food and sanitation items to help teenagers most at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Combining her passion for running with a desire to help her community, 15-year-old Maya Mor organized the Stronger Together Virtual 5K. With hundreds of participants, she was able to raise nearly $12,000 for the United Way Minnesota’s COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund.
Support students and families impacted by COVID-19.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE CPS COMPASSION FUND

Note that your calls and submissions will be subject to our submission terms—before you call or submit, please review the terms at obama.org/terms-conditions.

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Hi jean,Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many of you have reached out asking how you might help those in need weather these difficult times. While the toll of this crisis is difficult to imagine, there are still meaningful steps we can take to lessen its impact.

Today marks both Teacher Appreciation Day and #GivingTuesdayNow, a new day created to direct resources to those responding to COVID-19. To honor both days, we’re asking those who are able to support the Chicago Public Schools’ Compassion Fund.

With schools currently closed, the Chicago public school system has shifted to an entirely remote learning plan for 350,000 students. But that shift has highlighted a deep disparity in our city: a digital divide that limits technology and internet access. And that disparity is especially prominent on Chicago’s South Side, our home and the site of the future Obama Presidential Center.While Chicago Public Schools has committed to distributing laptops and WiFi hotspots to many families in the weeks ahead, a significant gap remains for the rest of the school year into summer, depriving teachers of their ability to connect with their students.

Your donation will help bridge the digital divide for Chicago students at risk of falling behind their peers by connecting them with the teachers who are helping them succeed.

We understand this is a difficult time for everyone. No one is immune from this virus or the effects it’s having on our communities. But if you want to help this #GivingTuesdayNow, consider supporting students here in Chicago to help keep this health crisis from turning into an educational crisis.

Thank you,

—The Obama Foundation

Support students and families impacted by COVID-19.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMPASSION FUND
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Hi jean,As stories of hope continue to pour in from around the world, we wanted to share some of the inspiring actions we’re seeing right here in our hometown of Chicago. Below you’ll find examples of Chicagoans doing their part to cope with the crisis—including President Obama’s special message to the volunteers of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

These are just a few of the stories we’ve witnessed in the past week. Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
During a past trip to Chicago, President Obama volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This week, he called the organization and their volunteers to hear how they’ve stepped up during this crisis, and to thank them for helping their neighbors in need. If you’d like to lend them your support, you can donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository here.
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Meet Albie, a five-year-old Chicagoan who recently launched the Keep Away Corona podcast with the help of his dad. Albie talks to friends and family about the coronavirus and even sings the show’s theme song, which will get stuck in your head (you’ve been warned). Listen to Albie’s podcast here.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
RN Natalie Amidei decided to spread some cheer by baking cookies for her fellow staff in the Emergency Department at Rush University Medical Center. The best part? Each cookie was decorated with a facemask emoji.
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Anne Miles wanted to feel connected to her Jackson Park neighbors while social-distancing. That’s why she decided to rally everyone together to create a teddy bear scavenger hunt throughout their community. Get a glimpse of the 🐻 hunt in the video.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our community faces unprecedented challenges. Help support the increased need for food with a donation.

Help the Greater Chicago Food Depository
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Hi jean,This week, we wanted to make sure you heard directly from President and Mrs. Obama as they offered words of thanks and encouragement to community leaders here in Chicago and around the world, as well as healthcare workers on the frontlines—and even sat down for a little storytime.

We hope you take a minute to watch these videos from President and Mrs. Obama—and continue to share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
Last week, President Obama joined a call with community leaders from across Chicago who are responding to this moment. Hear the words of encouragement he shared.
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Mrs. Obama joined former first lady Laura Bush for Global Citizen’s “One World: Together at Home” special to thank the essential health care workers who are risking their lives every day on our behalf.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
“In a lot of ways crises like this sharpen our focus and I hope for all of you have underscored why the work you do is so important.”
President Obama met with our Obama Foundation Scholars to offer some words of advice as they find creative ways to continue their inspiring work.
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
To all those children in need of a good story—and those parents in need of a little break—watch Mrs. Obama read one of her favorite children’s books, “The Gruffalo.” Be sure to tune in Mondays at 11 am CT to PBS KIDS’ Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Many of you are already doing so much to keep your families, loved ones, and communities healthy, but if you’re able, you can find ways to support others in need by donating to an organization near you.

TAKE ACTION NOW
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Hi jean,After another difficult week in our battle against COVID-19, we continue to find inspiration in the stories we hear of people stepping up in ways large and small to meet this moment—and the creative ways people are using to safely celebrate their traditions.

Obama Foundation leaders from around the world are shifting their existing projects and resources to look after their communities. Families are gathering together virtually to celebrate holidays and share meals, strengthening bonds while staying safe. As developing countries brace for the spread of COVID-19, changemakers are helping protect the most vulnerable from the worst of the virus. And people everywhere are showing their appreciation to the healthcare workers who are making tremendous sacrifices to treat our loved ones.

These are just a few of the stories we’ve witnessed in the past week of citizens doing their part to cope with the crisis. Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
Watch this video featuring the work of Obama leaders Rashvin Pal Singh, Gabriela Galilea, and Harry Grammer—three changemakers whose initiative and resourcefulness are helping counter this crisis.
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When a global health crisis hits, impoverished urban communities can be hit even harder due to limited resources and disparities in healthcare access. That’s why Obama Leader Kennedy Odede and his organization, Shining Hope for Communities, have taken a proactive approach to fight COVID-19 across Kenya. To flatten the curve, they installed over 30 hand washing stations throughout Kenya, in addition to providing accurate temperature readings and distributing supplies and educational pamphlets.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Deborah from Soquel, California shared her ritual of making Shabbat dinner together with her family each week online, while they shelter-in-place. ”We speak about how to move through difficult times by aligning with love and community. Even the little kids are thinking how they can help.”
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Katie from Narbeth, Pennsylvania shared this heartwarming letter from her daughter, Naomi, who was given the assignment to write a letter of thanks to a healthcare worker. Naomi chose her father, an infectious disease doctor who is working tirelessly to fight the pandemic.

Many of you are already doing so much to keep your families, loved ones, and communities healthy, but if you’re able, you can find ways to support others in need by donating to an organization near you.

TAKE ACTION NOW
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Hi jean,When I was growing up, my parents made it very clear: I could do anything my brother could do, from playing sports to going to college. That was one of the greatest gifts my family gave to me—a belief that, as a girl, my voice and my talents mattered.

I want every girl on this planet to have the same opportunities that I’ve had to pursue their education and their dreams. But right now, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. That’s why the Obama Foundation started the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program dedicated to empowering adolescent girls through education and supporting the grassroots leaders who remove the many barriers that girls still face.

Recently, Liza Koshy, Prajakta Koli, and Thembe Mahlaba visited Girls Opportunity Alliance projects around the world to see this important work in action. From the Study Hall Educational Foundation in India to Physically Active Youth in Namibia and Room to Read in Vietnam, these programs are transforming girls’ lives and creating a powerful ripple effect across communities. I hope you’ll tune in to watch their stories on YouTube Originals on March 17.

Watch a Sneak Peak

I hope you are as moved as I am by these stories, and I hope you’ll take action to support adolescent girls’ education around the world through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. Your support creates a ripple effect all its own—because when girls get the opportunities they deserve, our whole world benefits.That’s something we can celebrate on International Women’s Day—and all year long.

Michelle

The future of our world is only as bright as our girls.
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Hi jean,When the Obama Presidential Center opens, it will forever make Jackson Park a part of presidential history. In 1893, Frederick Douglass made it a part of Black history.

While attending the World’s Fair in Chicago—a celebration of America’s progress—he challenged our nation to recognize the contributions that Black Americans had made.

Watch our video exploring his stirring call, the last in our series of features exploring Black history in Chicago.

President Obama’s story was only possible because of a long line of leaders who pushed America to live up to its founding ideals. The Museum at the Obama Presidential Center won’t just tell the story of our nation’s first Black president; it will acknowledge generations of courageous leaders like Frederick Douglass who have worked to create a more equitable future.Take a few minutes to watch how Frederick Douglass made Jackson Park a part of Black history—and catch up on how we’ve honored Black history all month long.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,Six years ago today, I was standing in the East Room of the White House surrounded by young men of color from across the country. Together with mayors and business leaders, teachers and mentors, moms and dads, we launched an initiative whose work has remained core to my life since leaving the White House: My Brother’s Keeper.

We started My Brother’s Keeper so that every boy and young man of color in America would know that their dreams mattered as much as any other child’s. And when I reflect on that day six years ago, I can still feel the energy, hope, and possibility I felt then.

Since that day, our movement has grown into an Alliance that has brought together hundreds of communities with thousands of Americans, all committed to helping young people across this country achieve their dreams.Here in Chicago—as in many communities across the nation—the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is investing in innovative organizations that are saving lives. We’re helping Youth Guidance expand its Becoming a Man program to more schools, connecting young men with caring adults who can support their development and academic success. We’re supporting New Life Centers of Chicagoland’s efforts to provide street outreach, violence mediation, and counseling to help reduce the rates of gun violence that have impacted too many of our children and their families.  And our partners at Thrive Chicago are collectively leading these efforts, helping ensure we deliver results for our city.

Growing up there were times when I fell adrift; where I stumbled. But what made the difference in my life were people who encouraged me; who offered me guidance; who gave me a second chance. That’s why, today, I’m asking you to join me—not just in celebrating six years of breaking down barriers and expanding opportunity for boys and young men of color, but by showing up for a young man near you.

Every child deserves caring adults that will have their back and help them on their path to success. So visit IamMBK.org, find a mentoring opportunity, and sign up today.

We can only reach our potential if all of our nation’s children can reach theirs. I hope you’ll join us. Because we are all our brother’s keeper.

—Barack

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Hi jean,With the NBA All-Star game in Chicago this year, I had the chance to sit down with my good friend Mike Wilbon and three players I truly admire—Giannis Antetoukounmpo, Chris Paul, and Kevin Love. They’ve thrilled us through the years with their performances in the league, but it’s what they’ve done in their communities, that makes them especially inspiring.
As someone who didn’t grow up with much, Giannis has always made it a point to support those in need through food drives and charity events. Chris’ family foundation has partnered with a number of youth organizations—from Save the Children to the Boys and Girls club—to help young people prosper no matter their circumstances. And Kevin has fought to make emotional well-being as important as physical fitness by speaking openly and honestly about his own struggles with mental health.These players recognize that making lasting change starts by investing in our communities. For Michelle and me, that means investing in Chicago, the place where we met and had our girls. It’s where I taught and first ran for office. It’s the city that gave us everything. And that’s why we decided to put the Obama Presidential Center and the Obama Foundation right here in Chicago.

As I said on stage with them: Everybody’s got a contribution to make, everybody’s got a gift that they can give. If all of us are making that effort, then there’s reason for hope.

Take a minute to watch my conversation with Giannis, Chris, and Kevin; I bet you’ll come away inspired to invest in your own community.

—Barack

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Hi jean,There’s something invigorating about the new year—the fresh start, the opportunity to take up something new, the possibility of what’s ahead.

As Michelle and I reflect on the last year and look toward the next one, we’re encouraged by the stories of progress that came from 2019.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a look at the work of the Foundation over the past year. The stories of compassion, resilience, and connection couldn’t be more energizing.

Start with our Year in Photos—a collection of images from 2019 that showcase the incredible work that your support has made possible.

.
It’s because of your commitment that we can invest in emerging leaders and amplify the impact they’re already making. It’s because of you that we can highlight and support the community leaders of today—and help them become the global leaders of tomorrow. And it’s because of you that we’re bringing the Obama Presidential Center to life.I want to thank you for every ounce of energy, passion, and guidance you bring to our mission. Thank you for sharing our voice and vision for a better tomorrow. And thank you for making 2019 an incredible year.

But I have one more ask of you.

On a day of fresh starts and new beginnings, I challenge you to take a step toward change in your community. If everyone reading this can commit to one positive change for their neighborhood in 2020, our collective impact will be extraordinary. Even if we don’t always feel it ourselves, I know that we’ll keep making the world a little bit better in the next year and in the many, many years to come.

Here’s to another year full of hope,

—Barack

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2019

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Hi jean,
One of our highlights of the year was launching our Community Collections Gathering events, with a kick-off event here on the South Side of Chicago. We followed this with a road trip to Iowa, connecting with dedicated Obama campaign alumni in North Liberty, Mason City, and Des Moines. In each location, we saw hope undiminished—volunteers who drove from two hours away to share their #ObamaKeepsakes and supporters who still teared up thinking about the President. Many of the stories and artifacts they shared will become part of our founding museum collection—and they’re empowering and uplifting in equal measure.
Take a closer look at this remarkable photo—and check out the other beautiful moments that make up the Obama Foundation’s Year in 44 Photos.

Scroll through these photos and you’ll see changemakers join hands in the warm glow of the setting Honolulu sun. You’ll come back to Chicago and see communities cleaning up beaches and reclaiming their neighborhoods. And all along the way, you’ll nearly be able to feel every hug and hear every laugh from people meeting, listening, and working alongside President and Mrs. Obama.

Thank you for making all of these moments possible. It’s your support that powers our work with the community leaders of today—and helps us build new spaces to connect them, like the Obama Presidential Center.

And if you’d like to hear more about our time in Iowa, please read this post chronicling our inspiring visit.
​​​​​​
We couldn’t do it without you,

Thanks,

—Louise

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THE YEAR IN HOPE
This is a natural time of year for lists—best of’s, top 10’s, your 2019 wrapped. But while I work on getting my favorite books, songs, and films of the year in order, I wanted to share a different kind of list with you: the Year in Hope.
A collage of 3 photos with the text "EXPLORE THE YEAR IN HOPE" overlaid
The Year in Hope is a collection of stories from 2019 that showed us the best of who we are:A class of third graders surprising a classmate with gifts after he lost his home in a fire. Breakthrough treatments for Ebola that dramatically increase prospects for survival. An educator who brought the families of low-income and refugee students into the classroom to help broaden perspectives and invigorate their children’s education. And of course, there was Greta, who proves every day what she told me when we met earlier this year: “No one is too small to make a difference and change the world.”

Take some time to read and reflect on these stories. I think you’ll come away with a little more optimism about the new year—and with a renewed sense that each of us can do our part to create the future we want.

That’s my hope, anyway.

—Barack

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Hi jean,Making change on your own is not easy—but when you find people who are passionate about the same issues as you are, a lot can happen.

That’s just one of the lessons that 200 young leaders learned as they ended their six-month journey in the Community Leadership Corps. Over the last several months, these leaders identified an issue in their community and began their journey to tackle it.

The four young leaders of Info 312 pose with the #CommunityLeadership and other decals.
For example, Info 312, a group based in our home of Chicago, discovered just how much trouble parents with small children were having accessing food banks after work. So the four young leaders decided to create a way to make food banks more accessible for everyone in their community.
President Obama speaking into a microphone at the Leaders: Asia-Pacific design workshop in Hawaii.
And in Hartford, Connecticut, five young women who call themselves Team H.E.R. recognized how many young people around the city didn’t have access to banking and resolved to develop a financial literacy program to help them manage and navigate their financial futures.From meeting community members for one-on-one conversations to exploring what it means to be a design thinker and develop projects with the end user in mind, these members tried, tested, and improved their projects throughout the year.

Though their program is over, the journey is not. These young people are committing to taking the next step to stay active in their communities—and we hope you’ll share a few words of encouragement with them as they carry forward.

—The Obama Foundation

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Summit
Hi jean,

Our third Obama Foundation Summit just wrapped here in Chicago, and we are in awe of the conversations we witnessed.

From Michelle Obama and her brother Craig talking about their roots in Chicago and how the city defined the rest of their lives…

…to President Obama giving advice to young leaders on successfully creating change…
See All the Highlights
…to the stirring discussions between Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, Billy Porter and Lulu Wang, and Dolores Huerta and a young Chicago-based community leader named Oscar Sanchez…Relive your favorite moments from the Summit on obama.org. It’s your support that allows us to bring these visionary leaders together.

—The Obama Foundation

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Summit
Hi jean,

Back when I first met her, Michelle asked her brother Craig to size me up on the basketball court. Craig—who was the two-time conference player of the year at Princeton—didn’t take it easy on me. Somehow, though, I passed the test.

This morning, Michelle and Craig will take the stage at the Obama Foundation Summit with the author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson. I’m sure it’ll be a rich, meaningful conversation about their childhood in Chicago and the city’s lasting effect on their lives—just one of several inspiring conversations today at the Obama Foundation Summit.

I hope you’ll tune in at obama.org now to watch.

Spending time with Craig and Michelle always lifts my spirits, and I have a feeling it will for you, too.—Barack
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Summit
Hi jean,

This morning, I had a remarkable conversation with my brother, Craig. Now Barack’s about to take the stage.

He’ll be speaking with Yara Shahidi, a gifted actor and passionate advocate—someone whose youth belies her wisdom.

Tune in now to watch them in a conversation with the Obama Foundation’s young leaders.

I’m so thrilled Yara was able to join us. You will be too.Hope you’re able to tune in,

—Michelle

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President Obama fist-bumps with climate activist, Greta Thunberg
Hi jean,I wanted to tell you about a conversation I had yesterday with Greta Thunberg. Greta’s a teenager from Sweden, but at just 16 years old, she embodies why Michelle and I started the Obama Foundation in the first place.

Last year, Greta started sitting outside of her country’s parliament in Stockholm with a sign reading: “School Strike for Climate.” Today, that humble beginning has transformed into a global movement of millions of young people organized to combat climate change and promote clean energy.

That’s the power of young people—unafraid to believe that change is possible and willing to challenge conventional wisdom, Greta and her generation are making their voices heard, even at a young age. That’s what’s possible when we let young people lead the way.

And that’s an example of the idea behind the Obama Foundation: If we foster the next generation of leaders with the tools, resources, and connections they’ll need down the road, then they’ll handle the rest.

I hope you’ll take a minute to watch Greta’s message for the leaders of tomorrow.

—Barack

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Leaders: Africa
Hi jean,

What does the future of Africa look like? I’ve just arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa to get a first-hand look. Tomorrow, we kick off year two of our Leaders: Africa program with five days of inspiring events and speakers.

Last year, we were overwhelmed by the imagination and talent of our inaugural class of Leaders—a group of 200 changemakers from nations across Africa who continue to lift each other up as they chart the future of their continent.

This year, we’re looking forward to bringing a new class together, as well as a few Leaders from last year, for a week of activities and discussions about what it means to lead.

And one of the best parts? You can join us for two powerful conversations—wherever you are. We’ll be livestreaming the following sessions at obama.org/Africa (and we’ll host them there afterwards if you want to catch up).

Ethical Leadership in Africa with Trevor Manuel and Nozipho Mbanjwa
Thursday, July 11 at 6:30AM CDT / 1:30PM SAST
Tune in Thursday, July 11
Trevor Manuel, the former Minister of Finance of South Africa, will sit down with entrepreneur and broadcaster Nozipho Mbanjwa for a powerful conversation about ethical leadership—even when it’s difficult or lonely. Hear their thoughts on making unpopular, but principled, choices and overcoming unique obstacles to obtain positions of leadership.
Leadership and Legacy with Fred Swaniker and Ben Rhodes
Sunday, July 14 at 10:00AM CDT / 5:00PM SAST
Tune in Sunday, July 14
Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy and African Leadership University—as well as one of Time’s most influential people in the world in 2019—joins Ben Rhodes, former senior advisor to President Obama, to discuss the journey of leadership, the work of empowering and training ethical leaders, and how the next generation can tackle timely challenges.
Be sure to catch these livestreams at obama.org/Africa and meet the new class of Leaders we have joining us in Johannesburg this year.

I can’t wait to meet these new Leaders and hear how we can support them as they help drive Africa’s future. And I hope you follow along with our livestreams and on social media—there will be no shortage of inspiration!Bernadette Meehan
Chief International OfficerP.S. Next Thursday, July 18, is Mandela Day, a day to step up and participate in an act of service in your community. Save the date—and start thinking about what you can do to make your world better.

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Dear friends,

When Michelle and I first began thinking about what the Obama Presidential Center could be, one thing was clear to us both: We didn’t want to build only a monument to the past—we wanted to build a Center for the future. We hoped to create a place that would nurture and inspire the young people who walked its halls and played in its parks. A place that would invigorate the community that gave us so much. A place that could anchor Chicago as a destination for anyone who wanted to make a difference.

That’s why what happened this week is such a big victory. After a thorough review, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago that sought to prevent the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. It’s a win that will benefit the whole city.

The campus we’ve got planned will be far more than a museum—it will be a tribute to Chicago’s rich history, its defining legacy of progress, and its extraordinarily bright future. It will include a branch of the Chicago Public Library for people to reflect and read. An auditorium for performances and special events. A recording studio to bring in the city’s dynamic voices. A plaza that can host everything from film screenings to festivals. An athletic center that can teach sportsmanship as much as sports. A playground that will light up your child’s imagination, and a garden that will teach them how to grow something from the ground up. And—this one’s really exciting to me—a sledding hill on the South Side.

 

The Obama Presidential Center

We want to give every family in the community the kind of safe, welcoming, enriching environment they deserve. That’s why we consulted directly with people throughout the South Side and the City to make sure we’re delivering on that promise. And that’s why the vast majority of this campus will be free and open for the entire community to enjoy.

To make all this a reality, we can still use your help. I hope you’ll consider making a donation that will help revitalize Jackson Park and bring the Obama Presidential Center to life.

So let’s do this together. Let’s construct a Center for the community—with the community. Let’s build from the deep foundation of pride, talent, and possibilities on the South Side. Let’s write the next chapter of our shared history.

Thanks, everybody. Michelle and I look forward to working together with you in the months and years ahead.

Barack Obama

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Hi there,

We believe the global leaders of tomorrow are out in their communities today, demonstrating their potential by lifting up those around them. That’s why we’re inviting 100 of them from Chicago this weekend (and we’ll invite another 100 from Hartford next weekend), to join our Community Leadership Corps, a six-month changemaking boot camp.

But we know that everyone has the capacity to lead change—and if you’re ready, we have just the thing.

Answer five quick questions to find out what type of changemaker personality you have—and we’ll share some customized ideas for how to make an impact:

Find your change agent personality! Get started.
Do you like to create things? Are you great at bringing people together? Do you always speak up for what you believe in? Whatever your strengths and passions are, we can all play our part to make improvements in our communities.Deciding where to start can be challenging, but we’re here to help you take the first step. Change is possible, and it starts with you.

Take the quiz to get started.

Here’s to the first step,

The Obama Foundation

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Hi there,Educational inequality. Recent grads unable to find jobs. Neighbors who want to improve their communities but need help getting started. The growing opioid crisis.

These are some of the issues 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows Dominique Jordan Turner, Erin Barnes, Navdeep Kang, and Kalani Leifer are working tirelessly to solve. But they don’t do it alone—they work hand-in-hand with their communities to spur transformational change.

Kalani Leifer: Helping recent grads succeed
Kalani Leifer’s time as a public school teacher taught him that higher education does not guarantee success in the job market for all students. To help close the social gap, Kalani founded COOP, which invests in diverse, low-income, and first-generation grads from urban public colleges.See how Kalani is building a movement of diverse and upwardly mobile college grads through digital skills and peer connections.
Erin Barnes: Driving resident-led change
As a fifth grader, Erin Barnes wrote to her city’s mayor about speeding cars near her neighborhood playground. As a result of her actions, new traffic signs were put up. That experience was one of many that led Erin to found ioby (In Our BackYards), a civic crowdfunding and leadership development platform.Learn more about the work Erin is doing to motivate local leaders across the country to improve their neighborhoods through resident-led, crowdfunded community change.
Dominique Jordan Turner: Preparing the next generation of leaders
As the first in her family to attend college, Dominique Jordan Turner knows firsthand that an education has the potential to change young people’s lives. As CEO of Chicago Scholars, Dominique is passionate about preparing every student in Chicago to get into and through college, no matter their zip code.See how Dominique is preparing youth for college and helping them become the next wave of Chicago leaders.
Nav Kang: Changing how addiction is treated
As a psychologist in Cincinnati, Nav Kang witnessed people with substance use disorders slipping through the cracks. Now, he’s working to change how addiction is identified and treated, to make sure patients get the help they need.Read more about how Nav is shaping a collaborative, community-based approach to stem the opioid crisis in Ohio.
Leaders like Erin, Kalani, Dominique, and Nav are powerful examples of how change is possible through innovative solutions and shared action. We hope these Fellows inspire you to spot challenges in your own community and take a brave first step towards solving them.

Here’s to solutions,

The Obama Foundation

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Happy spring! We’re excited to share an update from the Obama Foundation. You’re an important part of this community, so we want to make sure you’re up to date on all you’ve helped make possible. Take a look!
"You, too, can make his life's work your own" -Barack on Nelson Mandela
To mark 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth, President Obama joined Graça Machel for a conversation on Mandela’s legacy and the future of Africa, moderated by Obama Foundation Africa Leader Lesley Williams.

Watch the whole thing and learn how the Leaders: Africa program is continuing Mandela’s quest for change.

Introducing the 2019 Obama Fellows
After thousands of applications from more than 160 countries, the 2019 Obama Foundation Fellows class is here!

Meet these inspiring educators, organizers, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Photo Essay: Finding Nima
After seeing local fishermen in Denmark forced out of business by big industrial fisheries, Europe Town Hall participant Nima Tisdall co-founded tech startup Blue Lobster.

Learn how her app is upending the seafood industry by helping local fishermen sell directly to customers and restaurants.

"You are the ones who are going to make a difference and make an impact." -President Obama, MBK Rising
Tell us today!
There are people in all of our communities doing amazing things to create positive change. Who is making a difference in your neighborhood? Tell us today!
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Hi everyone,

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s our privilege to honor some of the powerful moms who are making a difference while raising the next generation of leaders. Like so many, these women are driving change around the world while serving as inspirations at home.

Learn more about Obama Foundation moms who are changing the world and leaving it a better place for their children.

Leaders like Veronica Crespin-Palmer, Dr. Mwansa Ketty Lubeya, and Ana Maria Gonzalez-Forero have picked up the baton of leadership from their own mothers and grandmothers and are now demonstrating that same love, patience, and tenacity to their own children.

In Colorado, Veronica, an Obama Fellow, is working to ensure that marginalized communities have access to a quality education.

In Zambia, Africa Leader Dr. Mwansa Ketty Lubeya works as a gynecologist to treat cervical cancer and improve women’s health while caring for her five children.
And in Colombia, Obama Foundation Scholar Ana Maria Gonzalez-Forero works to ensure sustainable development for indigenous communities.
Veronica, Dr. Mwansa, Ana Maria, and countless moms across the globe are working tirelessly to create a safer, kinder, and more just world for their children to inherit. They show us that inspiration doesn’t just come from within—it’s also handed down through generations.Learn more about them and other mothers doing remarkable work here.

To those who we wouldn’t be here without,

Obama Foundation

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Obama.org

Hi there,

If you spend your life hoping and working for change, you know there are some days when you just need some inspiration—some days when you could use a few rays of hope to brighten the horizon.

I’ve got 20 for you.

I’m proud to introduce you to our 2019 class of Obama Foundation Fellows. They’re 20 leaders from ten countries who are poised to lead their communities, their countries, and our world into the future.

You can learn more about them here.

Over the next two years, we’ll bring this new class of Fellows together for specialized coaching and leadership trainings. We’ll offer them resources and connections that can amplify their impact. And we’ll highlight them in every way we can as the inspiring examples of change that they are.

Our new class of Fellows is already addressing some of the most pressing problems of our time. They’re boosting economies and supporting entrepreneurs in places where too many people are being left behind. They’re protecting our land and our water for sustainable development. They’re showing the world that criminal justice can be restorative justice, that urban development can be equitable, that our most disadvantaged and disconnected communities can also be our most vital and innovative. They’re even finding ways to grow food in the desert.

Above all, they’re giving the world hope—hope that generational challenges are no match for people who believe there’s no problem we can’t solve together.

That’s the other thing about this class of Fellows: They know that meaningful progress can only happen if it includes everyone. Change is a team sport, not something we can do alone.

So please join me in welcoming this remarkable class of Fellows to our team.

Thanks,

Barack Obama

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Hi there,From the day the Obama Foundation opened its doors, we’ve been inspired by what we’ve heard and seen from folks like you—whether you’ve posted on social media about how you’re taking action in your own community, told us about a community leader who changed the course of your life on Obama.org, recorded an oral history reflecting on President Obama’s historic election, or sent in a donation to help sustain our mission.

You’ve been there for us. And by engaging with our work, you’ve helped support the work of emerging leaders all across the world.

In the past two years—with your help—we’ve supported thousands of emerging leaders across mission-driven, evidence-based programs designed to create a global network of changemakers.We still have a lot of work to do—and we need your help. If you can, please support our work.

As President Obama said, “We cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together.” Every dollar we raise makes a difference. And we won’t be able to do it without you.

Thank you,

Obama Foundation

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JEAN PAUL,During MBK Rising! last month, hundreds of boys and young men of color joined us to celebrate the progress of the My Brother’s Keeper movement. There were many inspiring moments on stage—whether it was President Obama engaging with young leaders or Steph Curry sharing his story on the power of mentorship. But we want to share with you something special that happened behind the scenes.

Amid the steady buzz of activity and energy, time stood still for a moment.

A few attendees stepped into our portrait studio so we could capture their photo and hear how they were building a brighter future for boys and young men of color in their community.

If there’s one thing that unites their stories, it’s the joy they feel and exude as they help break down barriers and expand opportunity in their communities.

Take a look at these beautiful portraits and the proud, inspiring voices they represent:

 

I coach a sport and my entire coaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that the sky is not the limit, the mind is. I teach young men that as long as they have vision, action, and commitment, they can achieve greatness in any endeavor they pursue. -Elliott Kelly Jr.
I am bettering my community for boys and young men of color by providing a sense of fun, unity, and love through the work I do. Whether I'm helping at a community engagement event, or providing services to those in need, or just simply going to a high school to speak with students about their day, I try to incorporate those three things. - Emanuel Milton
I use photography as a medium to highlight the positive moments of black, brown, and other young men of color in Boston. This allows me to strengthen my passion for the arts and capture precious moments for all to witness.- Geomar Hernandez

You can see more of the portraits and stories we captured of young people who are dedicating their lives to serving others here:

https://go.obama.org/mbk-portraits

Every day, young men like Elliott, Emanuel, and Geomar are helping forge a path for the brothers and sisters who will come after them with resilience, courage, and hearts full of love. Their stories as mentors, coaches, community organizers, and brothers reveal a powerful truth: that our potential is limitless.

To being the change we want to see in our communities,

The Obama Foundation

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JEAN PAUL,For many of us, sports give us our first lessons in leadership. Whether on the field or on the court, between the lanes or in the ring, athletics teach us to examine our strengths and weaknesses, understand the importance of teamwork and coaching, and develop the grit it takes to persevere after a tough loss.

From teaming up with Steph Curry to encourage mentorship through the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to coaching his daughter’s basketball team—to sitting courtside at the UNC-Duke game in a 44 bomber jacket—President Obama has always embraced his love of sports, and his belief that they can bring communities together. That’s why we’re working to bring a Program, Athletic and Activity Center to Chicago as part of the Obama Presidential Center.

And it’s why we’re sharing his March Madness brackets with you today. Want to see how your bracket stacks up?

Check out President Obama’s Final Four picks and full brackets for both the men’s and women’s tournaments at: https://go.obama.org/2019-bracket.

 

See the President's 2019 brackets

No matter where these teams place in the Big Dance, they’re showing us how sports can be a force for bringing communities together and showing us how much we have in common—even if we root for different teams.

To leadership on and off the court,

The Obama Foundation

P.S. Know someone who might want to see the President’s picks? Forward this email so they can see how their brackets compare.

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Hi JEAN PAUL,Today on International Women’s Day, we want to take a moment to thank you and everyone else who is working, in big and small ways, to create a world where everyone can achieve their full potential.

There are women and girls in Irving—and around the world—who are ready to do big things to better their communities. With your help, JEAN PAUL, we can support them. We can make sure they transcend boundaries and make strides for women and girls everywhere.

Here are a few incredible women who are building a better future today:

 

Women are...
Changemakers, leaders, champions. Support our work.

Obama Foundation Fellow Preethi Herman is helping women fight for their rights in her native India and beyond. As head of the Change.org Foundation, she’s leading a project focused on giving women around the world the tools they need to become petitioners, advocates, and leaders of change.

Sefora Kodjo, a member of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa inaugural class, has committed herself to improving lives throughout Africa by empowering the next generation of women leaders through training and mentoring.

Dr. Urvashi Shani, a member of the Obama Foundation’s Global Girls Alliance, founded the Study Hall Educational Foundation in India to help girls stay in school and reach their full potential.

And Obama Foundation Scholar Alice Barbe is helping refugees resettle in France by offering job training and language immersion, and focusing on their personal plans and goals.

There are so many more inspiring women leaders out there—like Preethi, Sefora, Dr. Shani, and Alice—who could take their impact to the next level with your support.

JEAN PAUL, how many more women leaders could we empower with the support they need?

You can play an important part in supporting women leaders wherever they are—and there is no better time to make this commitment than on International Women’s Day.

Give now to empower women leaders in 2019 and beyond:

https://go.obama.org/empower-women

Together, we can lift up women and girls everywhere,

The Obama Foundation

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JEAN PAUL,Tomorrow is a day that’s been five years in the making.

In the aftermath of the killing of Trayvon Martin, I called on Americans to take action on behalf of our nation’s boys and young men of color. It was a call to love our neighbor’s children as much as we love our own; to make sure every child felt valued, safe, and supported by their community; and to help these young men see hope and opportunity in their future. Because we are all our brother’s keeper.

Since then, that mantra has become a movement. Today, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance consists of nearly 250 communities nationwide whose local, government, and business leaders have committed to break down the barriers that too often leave boys and young men of color at a disadvantage.

Tomorrow, I’ll join members of the Alliance in Oakland for MBK Rising!—a celebration of the progress we’ve made and a charge to keep pushing our work forward. I’ll be joined by hundreds of young men—as well as Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors—to take questions and have a frank conversation about the challenges and opportunities our young men face.

And I want to make sure you don’t miss it. If you click this link, we’ll send you a reminder to tune in just before our livestream begins tomorrow.

 

Tune in tomorrow

Despite the struggles and setbacks that continue to confront these young men, I’ve also seen real hope. For as difficult as this work can sometimes be—as uphill as the march sometimes feels—we’ve seen meaningful triumphs that are worth celebrating. Every day, young men are succeeding despite their circumstances, and then turning around to open up doors for others. Every day, community leaders who deserve more resources keep fighting to repair broken systems. Every day, we’re rising—together.

America’s future depends on the future of our boys and young men of color. And it also depends on you. Each of us has a role to play in this effort. So I hope you’ll ask yourself what more you can do to help these young men fulfill their potential and create an even stronger America. Because we’re stronger when we field a full team.

Thank you again for everything you’re doing already. I hope you’re as encouraged by the work ahead as I am.

Please join me by tuning in tomorrow:

https://go.obama.org/dont-miss-it

– Barack

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Hi JEAN PAUL,You know, when I was growing up in a small, working-class town in Ohio, I never thought I would end up where I am today. But even though my upbringing was humble, my family and my community helped me avoid obstacles and achieve my biggest dreams.

While talent is distributed evenly in America, opportunity is not. And too many young people—including our boys and young men of color—find the path to success riddled with obstacles, often lying just out of reach.

I see my younger self in these young men—full of talent and possibility but unsure where to go and uncertain that their dreams mattered to their community or country. That’s why I’m proud to be part of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, and proud to announce that I’ll join President Obama and hundreds of youth, community leaders, and special guests at MBK Rising! in Oakland, California, a two-day event beginning February 19.

And you can take part, too. Sign up here and we’ll send you a link to join via livestream:

 

Announcing MBK Rising! Join the livestream.

What am I most looking forward to? Meeting the incredible people who are a part of this movement, like Sybrina Fulton, co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation and mother of Trayvon Martin, who I’ll be interviewing live on stage along with other families who tragically lost their sons but are celebrating their lives by working to create systemic change everyday.

My story could have turned out differently. If my grandmother hadn’t taught me to play gospel piano, I may have never become a musician. If I would have turned down one street instead of another, if my mentors and friends hadn’t held my hand and cleared my way, I might have been taken down a very different path.

JEAN PAUL, every boy and girl should have the opportunity to bask in the joy of childhood and the benefit of a safe and supportive community. And they should know that as they get older, injustice won’t stand in the way of their success if they dream big and work hard.

MBK Rising! will trumpet that mission as we celebrate the progress this movement has made. We’ll hear from established and emerging leaders in the MBK Alliance community who are strengthening communities and transforming lives, tackling issues like youth violence prevention, mentorship, and the importance of providing second chances.

Together, we can create a world where every child—no matter who they are or where they come from—can thrive. Sign up for a livestream reminder, and we’ll let you know when to tune in:

https://go.obama.org/signup-mbk-rising

See you there,

John Legend

P.S. I want to make sure you got to meet the winners of the MBK Rising! video competition. Each of these 22 changemakers told us what they are doing to lift up boys and young men of color—and now, they’ll be joining me in Oakland. Watch their inspiring stories.

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What does an education mean to you, JEAN PAUL? How hard would you fight for it?For two young leaders, the importance of education can be traced back to their roots. The adversity their grandmothers faced to earn their degrees against all odds led these Fellows to their life’s work—and to each other.

Meet two Obama Foundation Fellows who are dedicated to providing quality education to all children. Read their stories today:

 

Education has made a difference in all of our families in some way. - Clarissa Delgado, Obama Fellow

Both Clarissa Delgado and Veronica Crespin-Palmer draw inspiration from the life-altering impact education has had on their own families.

Clarissa’s grandmother’s education was interrupted by World War II. After serving as a doctor during the war, she continued her education and went on to become a cardiologist. In Colorado, Veronica’s grandmother overcame gang involvement and poverty to earn her degrees and become a social worker.

But they have more in common than this shared legacy.

When they first met at a Fellowship gathering, Clarissa and Veronica connected over the ways poverty and trauma have impacted children’s education. They discovered that in both of their communities, language is a barrier to quality education, and in order to overcome these challenges, they must support families in their native languages.

Knowing firsthand that family involvement is key to school and student success, Veronica founded RISE Colorado to help families—many who were immigrants and refugees—push for a more just education system from within.

Clarissa’s roots led her back home to the Philippines to address the ill-equipped public education system and widespread student poverty. She launched Teach for the Philippines to make quality education available to all 24 million Filipino children.

Learn more about Veronica and Clarissa and what they’ve learned from each other as Fellows.

https://go.obama.org/fellows-education

Thanks for being a part of this,

The Obama Foundation

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“Where do I vote?” “How do I get registered?” “What’s going to be on my ballot?” These were the questions that 2018 Obama Foundation Fellow Tiana Epps-Johnson heard constantly while she worked the phones at a voter protection hotline a few years ago. She was shocked by how many people lacked the information they needed to exercise their most precious democratic right: the right to vote.

Tiana became motivated to build a way for everyone to find all of the information they needed to participate in the voting process in one accessible place. So, she launched the Center for Technology and Civic Life to improve voter communication and provide civic information through big tech platforms.

 

You can opt out of the act of voting, but you can't opt out of the outcome. - Tiana Epps-Johnson, Obama Fellow

The United States has one of the most decentralized election systems in the world—with low voter turnout compared to most developed countries. In fact, 40 percent of the population who are eligible to vote consistently do not.

And for those who do exercise their civic duty, factors such as changing rules, work schedules, and long wait times make voting difficult to navigate.

As an Obama Foundation Fellow, Tiana is accessing new resources, ideas, and opportunities to help push her nonpartisan organization—and our country’s voter turnout—to the next level.

Discover how Tiana’s organization is boosting voter turnout by utilizing social media for voter engagement, using data to reduce long lines at polls, and ensuring ballots are written for folks at a variety of literacy levels. (It’s really inspiring!)

https://go.obama.org/meet-tiana

Sincerely,

The Obama Foundation

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Hi JEAN PAUL,Today marks what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 90th birthday.

And although he’s not with us today, Dr. King’s steadfast commitment to the causes of equality and justice continue to transform the world. I still draw inspiration from his words to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1957:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

This message is as important now as it was more than 60 years ago. Dr. King taught us that if we work together—if folks of all backgrounds, experiences, and walks of life find common ground—we can bend the arc of the moral universe and change history.

As 2018 came to a close, I asked you to make a commitment in 2019—to look at your community and find something you could do to make a difference. There’s no better time to take action than by turning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day into a day of service.

Let’s honor the legacy of one of history’s greatest changemakers together—by taking steps to make a positive collective impact on the world.

What can you do to serve on MLK Day? It can be as simple as volunteering at your local library, bringing canned goods to a food pantry, or checking in on senior citizens in your neighborhood. Even the smallest acts of kindness help spur change in our communities.

Let’s turn next Monday into a day of service. What will you do to make your community stronger? Share your plans with me: 

Share your plans

Just as I’m inspired by Dr. King, I’m inspired by the many people who shared their commitments for 2019 with me.

Leaders like Sunday from Nigeria who is connecting rural healthcare facilities to solar power after seeing too many newborn babies and new mothers die due to power outages.

And Alyssa from Maryland who shared her plans to hold a monthly racial dialogue group in her rural community.

People like Regina from Wisconsin who committed to volunteer for a local nonprofit to ensure kids don’t go hungry after school and on the weekends.

Like Sunday, Alyssa, and Regina, I hope I can count on you to both serve next Monday, and to encourage your neighbors, friends, and family to take action as well—on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and beyond.

Your efforts—however big or small—to improve our neighborhoods, our communities, and our world, will inspire countless others, just like Dr. King’s actions did.

Let’s get going,

Barack

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Hi JEAN PAUL,On Sunday, standing in the East-West Center in Honolulu—where my mother anchored her own development work decades ago—I was proud to announce our latest international program.

We’re calling it Leaders: Asia-Pacific.

After the success of last year’s Leaders: Africa convening in Johannesburg, we’ve set our sights on another region that will shape our future.

And here’s how we’re building it: Rather than assuming we knew what was needed, we instead listened to emerging leaders from the region to understand how the Foundation could be most helpful. We pulled together a sort of brain trust of 21 young people already making change in over a dozen countries and territories across the Asia Pacific.

People like Julian Aguon—a human rights lawyer in Guam who is finding new ways to support indigenous peoples.

And Tu Ngo, who co-founded an education company in Vietnam that’s teaching more than 30,000 students online and in person.

Leaders like Leanne Kealoha Fox, a local scientist who is bringing her community together to collaborate as responsible stewards of natural resources in Hawaiʻi.

They’re all doing something unique to solve our shared challenges, right where they live. Meet them yourself.

Meet the leaders

Now, it’s no secret that we live in complicated times.

Around the world, public discourse has become ugly and divisive. Social media tends to amplify our differences more than it lifts up what we have in common. Too many people are falling behind, and our natural environment is suffering.

In the face of all those challenges, here’s what gives me hope: meeting young people, all around the world, who are taking up the work of solving those problems, without fanfare, inspiring and mobilizing their own communities. People like Julian, Tu, and Leanne.

This is the work that ends up changing the world.

This, in essence, is the theory of the Obama Foundation: If we can get these young people together, give them more tools and resources, shine a spotlight on their work, and connect them so that they can learn from each other—they’ll start to solve those problems we face. And they’ll do it together.

But we’ve got to invest in them and listen to them first. That’s what Sunday was all about. And we’re going to continue building programs like these, all around the world, working alongside regional leaders every step of the way.

Meet the 21 young people who are helping us build Leaders: Asia-Pacific.

Once you do, I think you’ll understand why I’m so hopeful for the future.

Stay tuned,

Barack

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JEAN PAUL, tonight we celebrate.Whether you’re putting on your sequined best or keeping it cozy, it’s time to toast to the year we’ve had together—and to the positive change we can create in 2019.

What could your tax-deductible gift do in 2019? You could train a future community leader, help girls around the world get an education, create opportunity for our boys and young men of color, and help build the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago.

Today is your last chance to help us build stronger communities before the year ends, so take it, JEAN PAUL—you’ll be glad you did. Give $40 before midnight:

 

Make a difference before the year ends! Give Now

When you donate today, your tax-deductible gift will help us expand our reach in the new year, empowering even more emerging leaders, creating more networks for them to join, and building stronger communities for us all.

Ensuring that these future leaders can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them is one of the most important things we can do in 2019. Your support today will make that happen.

Give the gift of a brighter future for all of us—and end 2018 with a positive action.

https://go.obama.org/year-end-giving

Here’s to ringing in the new year right,

The Obama Foundation

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Hi JEAN PAUL,How many changemakers will we empower in 2019? In part, that’s up to you.

Because together, we can help emerging leaders expand their impact—and build a brighter future in the process. Your support makes this possible.

In the past year, we’ve advanced the vision of the Obama Presidential Center with your help, JEAN PAUL, and that of the entire Chicago community.

Will you give today to continue this work in the new year? The tax deadline is midnight tomorrow.

 

We want this to be a place that helps all of us to build our collective future. -Barack Obama
Support our work

There are folks right here with us in Irving—and around the world—who, with kindness in their hearts and great ideas in their minds, are ready to roll up their sleeves and better their communities.

JEAN PAUL, can you imagine how much positive change we could inspire in 2019 if each of these changemakers had the support they needed?

That idea drives this organization. That is how we help emerging leaders build the world they want to see.

What will we create together in 2019? How many communities can we strengthen? Give now to help make sure the next generation of leaders have the support they need to create real change.

Your tax-deductible gift supports the Obama Foundation’s mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world. Let’s finish this year strong, JEAN PAUL!

https://go.obama.org/chicago-2019

Make it count,

The Obama Foundation

P.S. Remember, every dollar you give will empower emerging leaders to change their communities. And it’s tax-deductible! Make your gift before 2018 comes to a close >>

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JEAN PAUL, here’s something you might not know: President and Mrs. Obama started this foundation for you.They knew that building stronger communities across the country and around the world—like right here in Irving—meant building something bigger than all of us. It meant connecting a generation of leaders, investing in their work, and sharing the solutions they’ve created.

That’s our focus: to seed real, lasting change for communities everywhere. But we can’t do it without your support. 

Before 2018 comes to an end, please make your first gift today to support our shared purpose.

Help us build our next chapter

Here’s a snapshot of some of the work we’ve done together so far, JEAN PAUL:

  • Invested in 19 organizations across 10 states and Puerto Rico through our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance competition that are showing the nation how to measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color.
  • Supported 20 civic innovators with the skills and resources they need to take their work to the next level through the Obama Foundation Fellowship program.
  • Identified 37 rising leaders to serve as the first class of Obama Foundation Scholars, an innovative one-year academic experience.
  • Kicked off the Leaders: Africa program, empowering 200 of the continent’s most promising changemakers to take on the region’s biggest challenges.
  • Enlisted 300 highly motivated young leaders in our Community Leadership Corps, a six-month training program that helps them build the future they want to see for their communities.
  • Gathered 650 of these inaugural program participants and members of our Chicago community at the 2018 Obama Foundation Summit, advancing the conversation about what community leadership means today.
  • Established the Global Girls Alliance and a network of 1,500 grassroots leaders who are working to support the over 98 million adolescent girls around the world who are not in school.

This is only the beginning of the change you’ve helped create, the actions you’ve inspired. 

There’s no chance that we could have done all of this without you by our side. This incredible community is the true heart of our work, fueling our mission with encouragement and support.

Together, we can build on this progress in 2019, inspiring, connecting, and empowering even more emerging leaders; creating more networks for them to join; and building stronger communities for us all.

Support our work before the year ends, JEAN PAUL. Make your tax-deductible gift today:

https://go.obama.org/give-now-2018

Let’s do this,

The Obama Foundation

P.S. When you make a gift before December 31, you’ll be entered to win one of eight original printer’s proofs of our 2018 holiday card, dedicated to you by Obama Foundation CEO, David Simas. Donate now.

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JEAN PAUL,There’s an often unspoken belief behind everything we do here at the Foundation. It’s the idea that change starts within each one of us—that the actions of every single individual can make a powerful difference.

We recently received an email from one of our community members that perfectly illustrated that belief. When I read it, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

Mary Stonor Saunders is a member of the Obama Foundation community based right here in Chicago. As the executive director of Strides for Peace, an organization that works to end gun violence, her track record of creating positive change in her community speaks for itself.

We were honored to have her attend the 2018 Obama Foundation Summit—and grateful to receive the email below.

It’s people like you who make this work possible, JEAN PAUL. Thank you for your support and for being a part of this community.

Sincerely,

David

David Simas
CEO, The Obama Foundation

PS — If you are looking for an easy way to make a powerful difference before the year ends, consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our programming in 2019. Give today to help us empower more changemakers in the new year >>

From: Mary Stonor Saunders
Subject: Thank You
To: The Obama FoundationHi,A little late, but I wanted to send a heartfelt thanks to you and the Obama Foundation Summit team for including me in an incredible two days.Last week, my 14-year-old son and I finally had the chance to catch up and he was dying to know how the Summit went—he was so proud I was invited to take part.As I described the experience, what resonated most, what I found most impressive and inspiring, crystalized for me: how thoroughly the Summit embodied Obama’s values; the degree of integrity with which the Summit practiced what the Obamas preach.Before I arrived, I was not sure what to expect. I wondered what I would “get” out of the Summit—ideas, connections and honestly, the boost from feeling special from being proximal to high profile individuals.What I “got” out of the Summit was really quite different. I spent almost all my time with young people—all incredibly talented and no doubt high achievers, but more interested in the work they were doing than their rising stars. And though the young men I spoke with from MBK Detroit said they had never been to anything remotely approximating the Summit—they were brimming with confidence. They felt they belonged because everything about the Summit made sure it was true.In fact, it seems virtually every aspect of the experience reinforced the value of community and the power of ordinary individuals. From the moment I arrived the mission and values of the Foundation were evident in the details. “Give the microphone to others” was how I answered the pre-Summit question “how to make the world a better place.” Seems you already had that one covered!As I shared all this with my son, I realized what I got most from the two days was sharing my experience with young people and the fact that rather than a rarefied atmosphere, the air we were breathing was imbued with curiosity, gratitude, and inclusion.One of my favorite quotes from Obama is “government is not some distant concept, but the embodiment of the commitment we have to each other as a society.” I’d say the same is true of the Summit—it was beautiful. Thanks again for the opportunity to participate. I am looking forward to following up on the connections, including some of my new young friends.Congratulations to you and your colleagues for an extraordinary couple of days that I have no doubt provided inspiration for the work that lies ahead.With all best wishes,Mary

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JEAN PAUL,What’s the link between education records missing in Bamako and historic buildings disappearing in Budapest?

Corruption, a problem that is mobilizing two 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows.

Meet two 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows who share their knowledge and lessons learned from tackling the same challenge, continents apart.

Even though we're based in different places, corruption still has the same face. - Moussa Kondo, 2018 Obama Foundation Fellow

Moussa Kondo grew up in Mali, where corruption is often a fact of life. After it took away his chance to study abroad, he made it his mission to fight for honesty and integrity in his own community.

Sandor Lederer, from Hungary, noticed corruption in his community, too. Older buildings were quickly being ripped down, displacing residents without public input or documentation. He discovered corrupt developers at the root and was determined to do something to hold officials accountable.

We sat down with both of them to hear how they got started, where they are going, and how the Obama Foundation Fellows program is helping them get there.

https://go.obama.org/spotlight-fellows

Here’s to a common cause,

The Obama Foundation

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We're in this together.
There are few worthwhile human endeavors that you can do by yourself. That's why the number one thing that really we have to invest in is people. We want to get people to figure out how they work together. Help make this possible.
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We're in this together. Become a member todayGood morning JEAN PAUL,

When I was little, my mom and dad constantly impressed upon me the importance of giving back to my community.

They taught me that it was my responsibility—and my right—to pay it forward and offer what I could to make life better for those around me.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, I’m reminded of their lessons. I’m reminded of their insistence that we can build our communities up by forging bonds of trust, thereby making life a little bit better for our neighbors.

I’m also reminded of President Obama’s longstanding belief that despite all our outward differences, we’re in this together—we rise or fall as one.

That belief drives our work every day. It’s the beating heart of our mission, the reason I come to work every day, and why I’m writing to you right now.

JEAN PAUL, we can bring positive, lasting change to communities across the nation—but only if we work together. Today, I’m inviting you to help support our mission each and every month.

This Giving Tuesday, make it official. Join the Obama Foundation with a simple monthly pledge, and receive an Obama Foundation gift in the mail.

Whether you’ve been a part of this since 2008 or you’re just getting started, you belong here. Together we can fuel positive change, ensuring that we all have the opportunity to live our fullest lives—and that even more leaders are empowered to change their own communities from within.

But that mission can only be accomplished when we act together.

When you become a monthly supporter today, your gift will fuel crucial programs like the Global Girls Alliance. You’ll help empower even more adolescent girls through education, so that they can support their families, communities, and countries.

Join us, JEAN PAUL. Become a monthly supporter today and receive an annual gift as a small token of our thanks.

https://go.obama.org/become-member

Thank you,

David

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JEAN PAUL,

This email is a little bit different from others in your inbox. We aren’t sharing a discount code or a deal—instead we’re inviting you to build a brighter future.

When you support the Obama Foundation, you’re helping fulfill the potential of a new generation of young leaders who are improving their communities and their world.

Today we’re inviting you to be part of this work: Join the Obama Foundation as a monthly supporter and help us live out our mission.

Become an inaugural member of the Obama Foundation today and pledge your monthly support for this important work. When you do, we’ll mail you a gift of appreciation sent straight from us here in Chicago.

Become a member today

Last week, the President was talking to a group of leaders from around the world at the Obama Foundation Summit, and he reminded us that the most important thing we must invest in is people. When we figure out how to work together in cooperative, thoughtful, constructive ways, it can lead us to better outcomes—a better place.

Energizing young people to make a difference is some of the most important work we can be doing right now. And you have the opportunity to do that each and every month.

When you pledge a monthly gift, you’ll provide long-lasting support for projects like the Global Girls Alliance, supporting grassroots leaders who are working to ensure that adolescent girls have access to education and the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Together we have the power to change history—by building and empowering a new generation of leaders.

Ready to start?

https://go.obama.org/join-us-now

Thank you,

The Obama Foundation

Obama.org
JEAN PAUL,

One of the mistakes all young organizers make—certainly I did when I was young—is to think that societies will change on our timetable.

While we should be impatient about injustice—while we should seek to challenge it at every opportunity—the truth is that creating lasting change takes time. It takes effort. And most importantly, it takes listening to our families, our neighbors, and our friends.

This week, the Obama Foundation came together for just that purpose. Representatives from all of our initiatives, like the Obama Foundation Fellows program, gathered right here in Chicago for the 2018 Obama Foundation Summit.

It took our entire community to pull this historic moment off. So, at this time of thanks, I want to thank you, JEAN PAUL, for helping make this moment happen.

You made this possible

The passion, the eloquence, the skills, and the fierce intelligence that were on display at the Summit were remarkable. As I watched backstage, I saw that our next generation of leaders is already way ahead of the curve.

Our guest, Janelle Monáe, said it best: “to know that you guys are on the ground is so inspiring.”

That’s why I left the Summit so full of hope.

Michelle and I started this Foundation because we believed that the most important thing we can do is invest—not in a cause or an issue—but in people. If we can help a new generation of leaders figure out how to work together in cooperative, thoughtful, and constructive ways, great things can happen. Meaningful change can occur. Our impatience toward injustice can be rewarded.

That’s where you come in.

Thank you, JEAN PAUL, for being a part of this community.

Your participation is essential to our mission. When you share your story, your perspective, and your hopes—and when you listen to the stories and hopes of others—it helps us build stronger communities and a brighter future. That’s true right here on the South Side of Chicago and it’s true around the globe.

I couldn’t be prouder of our work together, JEAN PAUL, and I can’t thank you enough for your support.

Take a moment to watch some of the highlights from our Summit. I promise you’ll be thankful you did.

https://www.obama.org/

Happy Thanksgiving,

Barack

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JEAN PAUL,

We’ve spent the last year working with an inspiring group of changemakers in cities throughout the country and around the world. Now we’ll be inviting them to our backyard.

We’re thrilled to announce that we will be hosting our second Summit on November 18 and 19 in Chicago and once again, we’re livestreaming it on Obama.org.

Sign up here to get a reminder before the Summit goes live on Obama.org.

This year’s Summit theme is Common Hope. Uncommon Stories.We chose that theme based on an idea that has guided President Obama throughout his life: Though we may come from different backgrounds and hold different beliefs, we are all bound by a shared desire to build a better future for our communities.

We’ll be inviting the Foundation’s inaugural program participants—from Obama Foundation Fellows and Scholars to Africa Leaders to Community Leadership Corps members to representatives of the Global Girls Alliance and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance—to help advance an ongoing conversation on what community leadership in action means today.

We’ll also engage participants in discussions about the development of the Obama Presidential Center and Museum, a place we hope inspires visitors in Chicago and around the world to realize their potential is limitless.

Be sure to tune in to the Summit on November 18 and 19 on Obama.org. You can sign up for a reminder before the livestream begins here.

Trust us, you won’t want to miss the view from this Summit.

– The Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation Summit

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Hi JEAN PAUL,

Today, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world aren’t in school.

What could those girls accomplish if they were allowed to unlock their full potential? What could they achieve if the hurdles that keep them out of school—scarce resources, early marriage and pregnancy, a toxic mindset that says they are unworthy of an education—were swept away?

We’re determined to find out. Today, on International Day of the Girl, I’m proud to announce the Obama Foundation’s launch of the Global Girls Alliance, an effort to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, so that they can support their families, communities, and countries.

Learn about the Global Girls Alliance

As a part of the Global Girls Alliance, we’re taking a fresh approach to support the grassroots leaders who are already working in communities all over the world.

First, we’ve created a network that will allow these leaders to connect with one another, share best practices, and, ultimately, scale their work.

Second, we’ve partnered with GoFundMe to create a new crowd fundraising platform—a place where anyone, anywhere around the world, can support efforts to empower girls in places like India, Guatemala, or Uganda.

And finally, we’re looking for your help. Everyone can be an ally. I hope you’ll follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and visit our website to educate yourself on this issue, read about the tremendous work already being done, and get started taking whatever action you can.

Learn more about the Global Girls Alliance, and how you can be an ally today:

https://go.obama.org/global-girls-alliance

Thank you so much. Together, we can help these girls fulfill their boundless promise.

Sincerely,

Michelle

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JEAN PAUL, as we take the next steps towards breaking ground for the Obama Presidential Center, we want to hear from you.Our goal is to share the most timely, relevant updates with you, and with that in mind, we’d like to know what excites you about this project.

Take a minute to answer our survey and share your thoughts about the Obama Presidential Center:

The Obama Presidential Museum
The Sky Room Observation Deck
Public Programming at the Center Library
Program, Athletic, and Activity Center
A New Branch of the Chicago Public Library
A Plaza for Community Gatherings
All of the Above

Thank you, JEAN PAUL, for being a part of this community,

The Obama Foundation Team

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Hi JEAN PAUL,

A few weeks ago, we reached out and asked you to share your memories of the historic 2008 election.

Thousands of you responded, sharing your own experience through audio recordings, videos, words, and photos. And we’re loving them.

Your memories are helping us craft and preserve the story of that November night and the work that made it possible. Together, we’re creating a lasting reminder that when ordinary people come together, they can do something powerful. They can change history.

There’s still time for you to share your experience of that time with us, JEAN PAUL. But if you need something to jog your memory, listen to President Obama’s powerful first-hand recollection of election night.

Be part of this history

The stories this community has shared have been truly inspiring. You knocked on doors, crafted homemade Obama tees, and stayed up all night around the world to hear the election results.

Diving into your memories has brought those years back for me—an election that changed American politics forever.

Today, President Obama’s story joins others on our 2008 Time Machine, a digital home for our collective history of that November night and the months leading up to it.

Listen to President Obama’s first-hand experience and visit our 2008 Time Machine. Then share your own.

Here’s to making history,

– Louise

Louise Bernard,
Director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center

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“I got my start right here.”
– President Obama

When President and Mrs. Obama chose to locate their Presidential Center in Chicago, they wanted to make sure of one thing: that our neighbors here on the South Side were with us every step of the way.And they have been.Over the last several months, they’ve signed postcards and written letters of support. They’ve come to public meetings to voice their excitement. And they even stood before the Chicago City Council to make their case for the Obama Presidential Center.On Tuesday, President Obama surprised some of these supporters and stakeholders at a Foundation event to thank them for all they’ve done.Watch President Obama share his vision for the Obama Presidential Center—a public space that will honor history, help revitalize the South Side, and connect people throughout the community.

President Obama joins supporters at a Foundation event

Chicago is where President Obama’s story began—and this Center is an opportunity to give back to the community that helped write it.

But it will also be a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that remind young visitors—from around the city and around the world—that their potential is limitless.

I hope you’re as excited as we are,

– David

David Simas
CEO, The Obama Foundation

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Hi JEAN PAUL,

The Obama Foundation believes that when we lift up and support new leaders, everyone benefits. But it’s not just a belief; it’s what we seek to do every day.

So, we’re thrilled to announce that applications for the next class of Obama Foundation Fellows are now open.

Join our next class of Fellows

We’re looking for 20 rising stars from around the world who are working alongside their communities to solve important public problems in creative and powerful ways. The two-year, non-residential program offers hands-on training, leadership development, and a powerful network to equip Fellows to scale the impact of their work.

We’re searching for candidates who are civic innovators, discipline-diverse, at a tipping point in their work, not yet connected to the networks they need to advance their work, and motivated by the powerful desire to help others. You can learn more about what we look for when selecting Fellows here.

If you share these qualities, please apply to join the next class of Obama Fellows by September 18, 2018. Or, if you know someone who should apply, please let them know that the call for applications is now open.

We can’t wait to hear about the incredible work you’re doing.

The Obama Foundation Fellows Team

P.S. Need some inspiration? Read about the collaborative, community-driven work that our inaugural class of 2018 Fellows is accomplishing.

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22:24 (Il y a 6 heures)

À moi

 

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JEAN PAUL,

Today is an exciting day. I couldn’t be happier to introduce you to our inaugural 2018 class of Obama Foundation Fellows.

Join me in welcoming Erin Barnes, Veronica Crespin-Palmer, Clarissa Delgado, Nedgine Paul Deroly, Celina de Sola, Tiana Epps-Johnson, Sasha Fisher, Harry Grammer, Zarlasht Halaimzai, Ashley Hanson, Preethi Herman, Navdeep Kang, Moussa Kondo, Sandor Lederer, Kalani Leifer, Melissa Malzkuhn, Koketso Moeti, Alex Smith, Dominique Jordan Turner, and Keith Wattley.

Read more about these exceptional individuals who represent our 2018 Fellows class.

I want you to remember their names.

These 20 leaders, representing 11 countries, are tackling some of the toughest challenges in their communities. They are doing the hard work — not for recognition, often without enough resources — because they have a vision of the world as it should be: a little more just, less isolated, more connected.

They are ensuring access to literacy tools for deaf children, working with parents and teachers to improve our schools, and changing the way we treat addiction and approach the opioid crisis. They’re building digital platforms to help South African women get connected and start organizing. They’re incorporating mental health care into refugee relief.

In Oakland, they’re giving young people convicted of serious crimes a second chance when no one else will. In London, these folks are connecting seniors to young people to fight loneliness. In Chicago, our Foundation neighbors are helping at-risk youth finish college and become the next generation of city leaders. In El Salvador, they’re mobilizing youth to resist poverty and cycles of violence. And in the Philippines, they’re transforming public school teachers into community leaders.

I couldn’t be prouder of this group, and I can’t wait to learn from them and watch them grow over the next two years. The Foundation will facilitate hands-on trainings, leadership development, coaching, and personalized plans and strategies to help these leaders scale the work they’ve already started.

These Fellows, and the over 20,000 impressive applicants to the program, are exactly why this Foundation exists. We are successful when we connect and support the next generation of civic leaders. So that’s what we’re going to do.

Thanks for being part of this work, and for joining me in welcoming our inaugural class of Obama Foundation Fellows.

– Barack

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JEAN PAUL,Fifty years ago today, I was with Robert Kennedy in Indianapolis when we heard that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed.

The leader of our movement for civil rights was gone, assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis.

And I believe something died in all of us that day. Something died in America.

But I’ve also always held the belief that what he left us — the way of hope, the way of peace, the way of love, a philosophy and discipline rooted in nonviolence — cannot be taken away. These things are eternal.

On Monday, I had the privilege of meeting with President Obama and a group of young men in Washington, D.C. for a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance roundtable. Together, we commemorated the legacy of Dr. King, celebrated his life, and looked to the future.

I believe we can always do more to embody the teachings of Dr. King, not just on the anniversary of his death, but every day.

And young people are demonstrating that spirit to us. They are organizing and speaking up. They’re marching. They’re demanding more for themselves and their generation.

And so I had a message for the young folks I met with this week.

When I was growing up as a child in Alabama, I saw crosses that the Klan had put up. I saw signs that said “white” and “colored.” There were places we couldn’t go. The majority of African Americans could not participate in a democratic process in the South. We could not register to vote. And when I first came to Washington to go on the Freedom Rides in 1961, black people and white people couldn’t be seated together on a Greyhound bus leaving this city.

When I got involved in the Civil Rights Movement as a young man, we’d sit in at restaurants. People would spit on us, put their cigarettes out on us, pour hot coffee down our backs. I was arrested 45 times in the 1960s. I was beaten, left bloody and unconscious.

But I never gave up. And today, you cannot give up.

That’s what Dr. Martin Luther King can teach us today. His message is as important now as it was 50 years ago:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Because of King and the actions of so many others, we brought those signs down. We earned the right to sit in those restaurants. We earned the right to vote.

Now, all across the South and all across America, there are elected officials who are people of color. In the recent elections in Virginia and around the country, more people of color and more women were elected to positions of power. They are African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American. Our country is a much better place — a much different place — in spite of all the setbacks and interruptions of progress.

Dr. King taught us to be brave, to be courageous, to be bold. I don’t know where America would be, where many of us of color would be, were it not for him.

His legacy was to speak up, stand up. When you see that something isn’t right or fair, you have to do something — you have to get in the way. Get into good trouble.

The young men I met with this week give me so much hope for our future.

Watch this video of our conversation to see why:

Watch now

—Congressman John Lewis

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Over the course of the past year, I have had the life-changing honor of painting President Obama’s portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.On Monday, we unveiled it to the world.

I’d like to tell you a bit about it.

In choosing the composition and colors for this painting, I sought to create an allegorical index to President Obama’s life story — using key botanicals that reference his personal presence in the world. Jasmine from Hawaii. Chrysanthemums from Chicago. Blue African Lilies from Kenya.

And the nature of the president’s pose is not sword-wielding or swashbuckling. It’s contemplative. Humble. Open to the world in its possibilities. A man of the people.

As an artist, my practice is the contemporary reinterpretation of painting. I’m inspired by its history, by its mechanical act, and the human stories that can unfold on a physical plane. And what drives me is this notion of a history that is at once welcoming of those human stories — while being dismissive of those that don’t correspond to some accepted notion of respectability.

And my aim was to use the universal language of painting to arrive at a much more inclusive commentary of our own collective potential.

The particular honor of being the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president has been, for me, beyond any individual recognition.

It is bigger than me, and anything I could gain out of this. It presents a whole field of potential for young people — particularly young black and brown kids who might see these paintings on museum walls and see their own potential.

Art can function in practical, descriptive ways — but it can also inspire in so many resounding multiplicities.

That is my hope for this painting.

Thank you.

– Kehinde Wiley

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Today, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald became the first black artists to create official, Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former President and First Lady.And Michelle and I joined our distinguished predecessors and thousands of our fellow Americans on the walls of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Have a look at these two extraordinarily talented artists’ work.

Our official portraits

To call this experience humbling would be an understatement.

That’s because, as a former president, when you choose an artist to describe your likeness, you have the opportunity to shape, quite literally, how someone sees the office of the American presidency. And how they might see themselves in that presidency.

Kehinde Wiley and I share some things in common. Both of us had an American mother who raised us, an African father who was absent from our lives, and a search to figure out just where we fit in. I wrote a book about that journey, because I can’t paint. But I suspect a lot of Kehinde’s journey is reflected in his art. I was struck by the way his portraits challenge the way we view power and privilege; the way he endows his subjects, men and women often invisible in everyday life, with a level of dignity that not only makes them visible, but commands our attention.

The arts have always been central to the American experience. They provoke thought, challenge our assumptions, and shape how we define our narrative as a country.

Thanks to Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, generations of Americans — and young people from all around the world — will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens. These works upend the notion that there are worlds where African Americans belong and worlds where we don’t. And that’s something Michelle and I hope we contributed to over the eight years we were so privileged to serve you from the White House.

They’ll walk out of that museum with a better sense of the America we all love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Inclusive and optimistic.

And I hope they’ll walk out more empowered to go and change their worlds.

– Barack

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Hello JEAN PAUL —

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 89 years old today.

And as people around the country and the world celebrate his legacy with acts of service, I’m thinking about something that President Obama shared with a room full of young people in New Delhi, India, last month — something that folks might not know about Dr. King:

He was just 25 years old when he moved to Montgomery, Alabama, to serve as a pastor. And only 26 during the Montgomery bus boycott. A young man with a big dream — to desegregate the South.

“And he started in small steps,” President Obama shared that day last month.

“It was only a few years later when he won the Nobel Prize and would help to revolutionize America. But it wasn’t just Dr. King — it was all these young people around him who were just like us. They had their flaws. They had their problems. They had their doubts. But despite all those imperfections, they pressed forward anyway — often far from the limelight — with determination and with faith in the future, because they believed that their efforts would matter and that they would be part of this upward trajectory in our human story.

“So that’s the legacy that is available to you should you choose to grab it. That should inspire each of you to keep pushing for progress in whatever field you’re in and whatever communities that you live in, knowing that your efforts matter.”

This, quite simply, is the very mission of the Obama Foundation: helping young people see themselves in the future of their country — and giving them the tools and resources they need to forge their own path to shape it.

I’m proud to be doing this work alongside you — today and every day.

– David

David Simas
CEO, Obama Foundation

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Hi JEAN PAUL –The final message I shared with the American people as First Lady was simple:

It’s on all of us to provide hope for our young people. Our hope for our children’s future — and the hard work that hope inspires — is what moves this country forward every single day.

That means empowering our young people with an education. Making sure every one of them has access to a future as big and bright as their dreams. And it means providing them with spaces where they can hear from each other. Places where they can learn to lead — and then get out there and build a country worthy of their boundless promise.

This is our vision for the Obama Presidential Center: More than a fancy building or a museum, it will be a true, working center for citizen collaboration. A learning and training center for the next generation of leaders.

We are so proud, so grateful, to be building it in Chicago — home. And your feedback and suggestions have been absolutely essential to the process of designing it. Thank you.

Earlier this week, we filed the official paperwork with the City of Chicago and took a big step forward with our plans. And Barack sat down recently to share our shared vision for the Center with you directly.

Take a look at what he had to say — and then I hope you’ll share it with someone you know. Maybe someone you know who lives in the Chicago area, or a young leader who you think this center will help.

Check out this video Barack made about our plans.

Thanks for your continued feedback and support. We’re humbled by the opportunity to build this alongside you.

– Michelle

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JEAN PAUL —

Today is a day to recognize those who have honored our country with its highest form of service.

We owe our veterans our thanks. Our respect. Our freedom.

Today, we humbly acknowledge that we can never truly serve our veterans in quite the same way that they served us. But we can try. We can practice kindness. We can volunteer. We can serve. We can respect one another. We can have each other’s backs.

Yesterday, I dropped by a service project in Northeast D.C., where a group of veteran volunteers were preparing for a project to help revitalize the Langston Terrace public housing project. Langston Terrace, the first federally funded housing project in D.C., was built in the 1930s as part of President Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration. Its 274 units provided affordable shelter for families trying to get back on their feet after the Great Depression. And today, a group of veterans are fixing it up, working alongside members of their Washington, D.C., community.

Just think about that for a moment. On a day dedicated to honoring their sacrifice, these veterans chose to honor their fellow citizens. Lift up their own communities. They chose, on this day, to roll up their sleeves and ask, “Now, what else can I do?”

That is true service. The pure and selfless personal agency that makes us who we are as Americans.

Thousands of you are doing this every day, in your own communities. Folks like Kyle, from Germantown, Maryland. Kyle wrote Michelle and me earlier this year to tell us about Washington D.C.’s Dog Tag Bakery, where she works. Dog Tag helps support disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers during their transitions into civilian life by providing them with valuable work experience. (They also happen to bake, as Kyle puts it, “the most amazing brownie you’ve ever had.”) Kyle told us how inspired she was by her colleagues’ strength and commitment to service. She wrote that we should all “support this transition for those who have sacrificed so much for our country and well being” — and I couldn’t agree more.

Notes like Kyle’s remind me that one of the many ways we contribute as citizens is by holding each other accountable — by encouraging each other to stand up and do better.

We’ve been asking folks all around the country to share with us what they’re committed to changing in their communities in the next few months. Join them by making a commitment of your own today.

Every day, we walk among citizens willing to lay down their lives for strangers like us.

Today, we can show our own love for our country by loving our neighbors as ourselves. By rolling up our sleeves, and asking: “Now, what else can I do?”

May God bless all who served, and still do.

— Barack

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JEAN PAUL,

This week, I had the honor of joining hundreds of civic leaders at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. The experience fortified my belief that civic leadership is for everyone, no matter where you live or who your mamma is.

In rural communities like my hometown of Athens, Tennessee, civic leadership is the daily practice of showing up in small, but consistent ways — at potlucks and funerals, at PTA meetings and choir practice, at football games and city council meetings.

That regular practice of participation is what characterizes our relationships, and it gives us the ability to live and work and worship together in spite of disagreements. It’s hard to dismiss someone when you expect to see them tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.

At the Obama Foundation Summit, I learned so much about how people from around the world show up in their communities, and I’m so grateful to take those lessons home with me. Here were a few of my favorites:

Community organizers Necia Freeman, Patricia Keller, and Jan Rader of West Virginia encouraged us to reach out to one person who is hurting and walk with them through their darkness.

Author Bryan Stevenson spoke of the importance of staying in “proximity” to those who are suffering in order to build compassion and better understand the problems we want to solve.

Women’s rights advocate Manal Al-Sharif told us to remember that we all have it within us to be courageous, and to draw on that courage to address inequality in our communities.

At the end of the Summit, President Obama asked us all to fill out commitment cards to reinforce the lessons and goals we’re taking home with us. He told us they don’t have to be big and lofty — they should be achievable within a matter of months.

My commitment is to host a civic dialogue supper in my community about an important local topic. You should make one, too.

Share how you’re committing to showing up in your community.

Peace to you,

Whitney Kimball Coe

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Hi JEAN PAUL —

Here’s something that will inspire you:

Training Days

On Saturday, 150 young adults gathered at the Gary Comer Youth Center on the South Side of Chicago to learn how to make concrete, positive change in their communities.

They came from all across the Chicago area. They ranged from age 18 to 24. They showed up fired up and ready to go. They left with a deeper understanding of themselves, their communities, and how to make change at a local level.

I can’t think of anything more inspiring than that.

Thank you Obama Foundation for challenging 150 student leaders

So how do you learn how to tackle the work of real community change over the course of one day? 

First, you learn how to tell your own story.

Someone told me my story inspired them

Next, you come to better understand the issues at play in your community, and how you’re connected to them in a real, personal way.

Happy to be in a collaborative, supportive environment

Then you learn how to create an action plan to tackle an issue that matters to you.

So honored to spend the day with the Obama Foundation

Finally, you meet community organizations who are already making change on a local level.

Thanks to our community partners

Our participants were joined by 25 peer advisors — young folks who have taken on active leadership roles in their communities — and three knowledge partners who helped design the curriculum for the day:

Mikva Challenge — A civic education group that puts together local programming to help high schoolers become more civically engaged.

Facing History and Ourselves — An organization that helps us come to understand the bigger systems and history at play when tackling a given issue, so that we can be as strategic and effective as possible when taking action to change it.

Narrative 4 — A personal storytelling organization that helps people tell their stories, both to deal with trauma and take strategic action moving forward.

These folks know how this works better than anyone. We just put the right people in the right place.

Another pretty well-known Chicago organizer made a surprise visit to say a few words, as well:

President Obama speaking to young leaders

Of course, President Obama was just as excited to see this group of young leaders as they were to see him — after all, it wasn’t so long ago that he was in their shoes.

Inspired? Good. Because we’re going to keep doing Training Days like this one, gathering young people together in cities and towns all around the country.

Our next ones will be in Tempe and Boston — if you or someone you know is between the ages of 18 and 24 around either of those places, here are the links to apply:

Tempe, AZ
Boston, MA

Onward,

David Simas
CEO, The Obama Foundation

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Hello JEAN PAUL –When I left office in January, I asked of you the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me back in 2008. I asked you to believe — not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.

A few months ago, Michelle and I launched this new experiment in modern citizenship — the Obama Foundation — to help more people find their own voice. And we turned to you first.

We asked you what this organization ought to look like. What its goals should be. What work is going on out there that we should lift up. And you delivered beyond what we could have hoped for.

Based on what we’ve heard from you, I’m here to tell you what’s next.

We’re going to focus on empowering and equipping civic innovators and young leaders with the skills and tools they need to create change in their communities. We’ll spotlight the incredible individuals and projects around the world that are making an impact, and convene those that are tackling challenges in their own backyards.

We’re launching the Obama Foundation Fellowship to support and elevate outstanding civic innovators — individuals from around the world who are working with their fellow citizens to tackle big challenges. We want to lift up the amazing work that organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and others are doing — and if we do it right, together we’ll show the world that each of us has a role to play in our civic life. Apply now, or pass this message along to someone you know who’s changing the world.

We’ve also heard from thousands of young people just getting engaged for the first time, asking for help on how to get started. So, we’re putting together a series of Training Days across the country — starting in Chicago — to teach young people how to put civics into action where they live. Get updates on Training Days and find out when we’re coming to your area.

Finally, we heard how much you want to hear from one another — from folks who aren’t like you, who live in different places and experience different challenges. So this October, we’re bringing together hundreds of civic leaders from all around the world to Chicago for a hands-on exchange of ideas. This Summit will be a place to share your stories, learn from one another, and then go back to your communities to lead others in the hard work of change. It will also help guide our Foundation as we continue to design programs that connect and support the next generation of young leaders here in the United States and around the globe. Learn more about what’s in store, and how you can be a part of it.

Welcome to the next phase of this organization — inspired by you.

From the day we launched the Foundation, I told you that even as we experiment, even as we try and fail as humans do, there would be one constant in our work — our commitment to progress.

Democracy is a job for all of us. What are you going to do about it?

I’ve never been more certain that we’ll rise to the occasion — together.

– Barack

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Hello JEAN PAUL —

All weekend, people in Houston, across the Gulf Coast, and around the country have been pitching in to aid those affected by the devastating flooding in southeastern Texas.

We’ve been inspired by the acts of citizens aiding their neighbors, the first responders at work on the ground, and the people around the country who have come together to support those in need.

Help is still needed, and there are many ways for you to contribute from anywhere. Here are some of the organizations providing urgent relief and essential services to the people affected by Hurricane Harvey:

Red Cross
The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide safe shelter and comfort for the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Southern